Music is a powerful tool when it comes to influencing the society and humanity has used this intensely. For a long period of time, probably as long as humanity existed, music has been used to address the social issues and problems that affect human beings. They represent a way of expressing opinion and most of the time music has managed to control the social issue that is addressed therein. This paper explores five songs that address the problem of environment.
Environmental issues have continued to occupy the international arena given the realization of the degradation caused to the environment by human activities. Global warming and climatic change are being felt across the world and therefore environmental issues are at the heart of every human being because if the environment is destroyed, no one will be spared either.
How Environmental Problem is addressed in Five Songs
In the song Big Yellow Taxi by John Mitchell, he laments that clearing of forests seems to be the priority of people as they scramble for space to erect magnificent structures. Mitchell sings that the paradise was cleared to pave was for the construction of parking lot. This song fits well with the environmental problems because it is the forests that are considered as the earth’s lungs and when they are cleared, the earth is in danger of suffocation because fresh air will become limited. This is the case in many cities around the world where there is no green vegetation to provide fresh air. The anti-pollution song is well executed with a male singer in lamenting voice crying for the preservation of the environment.
A change in the approach towards solving planetary problems is revealed in the song Calling around the World by Thomas Donovan. In this song, Donovan realizes that man has used the same approaches in addressing the problem of environment for long and emphasizes that it is time the approach was changed if positive results are to be realized. He seems to emphasize on the beauty of love and vehemently argues that the moment people realize that they love the nature, destruction of the environment will be stopped and environment will be preserved. This song can easily pose as a love song even though the euphemism used addresses the issue of environment preservation. The song is directed to no one in particular but it is a general calling for people to start loving the environment in which they live.
He notes that the ocean and the seas form a great part of the environment even though many people around the world do not realize this fact. Many think that the ocean is far away from man’s dwelling and is a place dump wastes and other affluent material from the industries. However, John Denver’s Calypso, recognizes that the ocean and seas are part of the life cycle of the human environment that requires preservation. More so, man for travelling and fishing has used the oceans, which make them an important part of the environment worth being conserved. He addresses the beauty and awe of the seas in the song that are directed at stimulating sympathy from the listener to start looking at them with a sort of preservative approach. The song is directed to the seafarers and industrialists who use the seas and oceans frequently. Denver’s choice of words is poetic and sound lyrical and this makes the song to appeal more to the listeners.
Some institutions have a mantra to the effect that people should strive to leave the place better than they found. This mantra rings a bell to the effect of planting trees and ensuring that what was found in that place is not only left their when one leaves but leaves it in a better condition. The Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young address this theme in the song Clear Blue Skies where they emphasize the need for those who are going to leave the skies clearer than they found them. This is an allegory to the smoke and other harmful fumes that are emitted into the sky from industries and factories. As such, the quartet reminds the listeners that clear blue skies were there before they came and poses the hard-hitting question as to whether the same will still be there after they have gone. This is a group song that represents how people ought to be united in alleviating the effects to the environment. But this can only be done if they recognize that the sky is made blurred by the activities of man and therefore look for better ways of cutting down on these activities.
Mother Nature is composed of a number of environmental factors and destroying it means that the environment is doomed. The Kansas explores this theme in their song, Death of Mother Nature Suite. In an environmental awareness tone, they observe that people have cut down trees and killed the wild animals, and poured poison into the sea and air. As such, it is pity that humanity is keen on finding a way around the elimination of Mother Nature by trying to invent things to imitate the natural atmosphere that Mother Nature provides. In so doing they lose the very essence of living, which is to care for the environment. This song brings to the attention of the listen the issues that they engage in which affect the environment. Mother Nature cannot be replenished and care ought to be taken to ensure that she is conserved. Estimates indicate that four thousand trees are cut everyday to make timber and these are not replenished with the same rate. Even if they were replenished, they will take a long time to come to maturity and man will have cut it down at the tender age due to their increasing needs for woods and timber.
Two Sources that Discuss Music and Environment
The united nations initiative for music in environment is using music done by different artists to award sensitize the society on the importance of preserving the environment. The UN initiative recognizes that music is a powerful tool that can be used to pass information to many people around the world regardless of their gender, religion, income or any other factor that is normally used to discriminate people. As such, the initiative endeavors to use music messages to sensitize the public on why the environment needs conservation. The other source is the Musicians United to Sustain the Environment website that outlines the projects that musicians have in place to ensure that the environment is sustained.
The articlePromoting Conservation through the Arts: Outreach for Hearts and Minds outlines how people can use their artistic endowment including music to pass across messages that are geared towards the preservation of environment. The author of the article had used content analysis and survey to collect the information. The finding is the article is that, people have made a number of steps in using music to promote environmental friendly activities even though this is not enough. This finding is important especially to the youth who would like to pursue music as a career to consider focusing their approaches towards messages that are environment friendly. This will herald a departure from the current trend where music is sung to glorify sex, drugs, and other deviant behaviors that can be considered as anti-social (Jacobson& Mcduff, 2007).
In conclusion, understanding of how music can be used to communicate environmental messages is important in bringing popular culture on board to join others in the ongoing efforts to conserve the environment by the international community.