Music is a wonderful way to engage people in
Monkey Gone to Heaven by the Pixies (Student 1)
This song is about human's negative impact on the environment. It contains lyrics like... "There was a god/An under water god who controlled the sea/Got killed by ten million pounds of sludge/From New York and New Jersey", and "The creature in the sky/Got sucked in a hole/Now there's a hole in the sky/And the ground's not cold/And if the ground's not cold, everything is gonna burn/We'll all take turns, I'll get mine too". It talks about issues like pollution, atmospheric ozone, and global warming which are threats to wildlife.
The Blue Planet by Hans Zimmer (Student 2)
This is some of the music that accompanies the Blue Planet 2 nature documentary, narrated by none other than Sir David Attenborough. Here are some of the comments on YouTube: "This piece alone without knowing what its for tells me its about something magical, vast, huge and beautiful." "I'm obsessed with BBC Blue Planet documentaries. The soundtrack adds so much to the beauty." "People must listen to it so that they will try to protect those innocent creature"
Elephant Song by Kamahl (Student 3)
This song is dedicated to the conservation of elephants. It shows images and talks about how elephants are killed and to help save them. Some of the lines talk about not letting elephants be forgotten: "let the world of man remember / let the children not forget". The song and comments also talks about the cruelty elephants face when they are in circuses.
Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
Big Yellow Taxi is one of Joni Mitchell's best known songs. She began writing it in the late 1960s in response to changes in the natural landscapes of Hawaii and California. It references many environmental concerns such as urban development at the cost of forests and the use of DDT. Many bird species, including the bald eagle, were put in danger from eating insects and fish poisoned by DDT, causing them to lay brittle eggs. This anthem, as the chorus rings, is about the environmental effects of taking things for granted.
Truth to Power by One Republic (Student 4)
This song takes a really interesting approach. The lyrics personify earth as if it were a person and uses personal pronouns. I think this gives extra power to the conservation message because the personification helps invoke human empathy. The main message is that the earth has "seen" other forms of truth turn to activism which turns to change (such as the civil rights movement) and that the earth "wants" us to do the same for conservation.
Earth - Lil Dicky (Student 5)
Although this entry is slightly innapropriate, I cannot omit its inclusion due to the effectivity in reaching the masses. Firstly, the song employs stunning visuals to keep viewers captivated. Furthermore, it also features several celebrities each representing a different animal (facts about each animal pictured can also be found on the their website). Thus, this inclusion of all these celebrities along with the catchy backtrack made the video a viral hit. Along with the video, a website was created (https://welovetheearth.org/) which helps viewers find more information relevant to the topic (such as ways to help, what the problem is, current news regarding conservation...). It also (arguably most importantly) has a very different tone to previous conservation projects. This tone is what I believe to have skyrocketed this video's success. Due to its more crude/mature nature, it makes learning about the topic more entertaining due to shock factor, along with differentiating itself from the several projects which predate it. Finally, any profits made from the song, or accompanying merchandising went towards existing conservation projects relating to renewable energy, nature conservation, and food waste.
What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (Student 6)
While this song doesn't have an explicit conservation message, it points out the beauty and wonder of the world. This in turn leads listeners to better appreciate nature and become inspired to conserve it. It's also such a great classic song that can always bring a smile to your face.