Climate change isn’t an easy thing to write a song about, unless you’re into really depressing lyrics… And who needs those bad vibes? But there are some artists who are accepting the cold hard truth and stepping up to make a difference, whether it’s through music, donations or organizations. The most important thing is that they’re using their platform to raise awareness among their many followers.
The 1975 recently did this with their newest self-titled song from their upcoming 2020 album Notes On a Conditional Form, for which they enlisted teen activist Greta Thunberg, who gives a speech urging the world to “wake up” over the band’s instrumentation. Jaden Smith has made it his goal to help with the Flint water crisis and even founded his own sustainable water company, Just Water. Additionally, Lil Dicky enlisted every A-lister there is to be featured on his track and animated music video for “Earth,” in hopes of garnering attention of fans everywhere.
Billboard rounded up the artists who are fighting to raise awareness.
“We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis,” Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg says over a landscape of twinkling synths. “We need to call it what it is: an emergency.” The cut, released last month, comes from the band’s forthcoming 2020 album Notes on a Conditional Form and follows the pattern of all their previously released self-titled opening tracks. Thunberg’s speech is so clear and straight-forward and has such a deep sense of urgency, it’s hard to listen to it and not feel the need to take action.
Smith is the founder of Just Water. The water company began in 2015, but Smith had been stuck on the idea since the young age of 11, after seeing plastic floating in the ocean while surfing. It’s not purified tap water, which actually takes more energy; it’s spring water that is pumped from Upstate New York, a reliably plentiful source. Eighty-two percent of every bottle is plant-derived, resulting in a 74% reduction in carbon emissions compared to a standard water bottle.
Additionally, Smith made a huge contribution to the serious Flint water crisis in Michigan, by donating a mobile water filtration system in Ellen DeGeneres’ name. “This actual box is gonna be in Flint providing clean water for people on pretty much a weekly basis,” he explained when he appeared on the show.
In a recent interview with Netherlands radio station 3FM, around the 4:54 mark, Eilish revealed that the line, “Man is such a fool, why are we saving him?” from her song “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” is actually about mankind and global warming. “Why are we working so hard to save mankind when we should really be out here saving the planet, saving the world, saving animals?” Eilish explained. “We are literally the flu and the fucking world is this beautiful place that we’re ruining. Obviously that song is however you want it to be, but a lot of it is about global warming and the world being ruined by us.”
She went on to explain that while she’s guilty of using some products that aren’t good for the environment, she has always used metal straws and has never eaten meat her whole life.
Talk about using your fame for good. The rapper/environmentalist decided to round up almost every celebrity on Earth and then write a song about it. Actually called “Earth,” the song features Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Halsey, Zac Brown, Brendon Urie, Hailee Steinfeld, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Kevin Hart, Adam Levine, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Sia, Miley Cyrus, Lil Jon, Rita Ora, Miguel, Katy Perry, Lil Yachty, Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor, Joel Embiid, Tory Lanez, John Legend, Backstreet Boys, Bad Bunny, Psy and Kris Wu… phew! It also came with an enchanting animated video that has already reached more than 180 million views on YouTube alone, so needless to say, he succeeded in reaching a large group of people.
— Jonny Greenwood (@JnnyG) June 11, 2019
Back in June, an unknown hacker stole a collection of unreleased Radiohead songs. The hacker threatened to release the 18 hours worth of MiniDisc recordings, recorded during the making of 1997’s OK Computer, unless the band paid a ransom of $150,000. Instead of paying the ransom, the band released the music themselves, which was then made available for purchase on BandCamp for £18 (approximately $23).
All proceeds go to Extinction Rebellion, an organization dedicated to fighting manmade climate change, biodiversity loss and “a mass extinction of our own making.” Jonny Greenwood also said in a statement that the recordings were “never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”
New Album: Grimes – Miss_Anthrop0cene 1. mis·an·thrope noun: a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society. 2. Anthropocene: The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s Geology and ecosystems including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change. ———————————— Just fount out my first interview in a few years is coming out tomorrow. I thought the writer was quite smart so hopefully it’s accurate haha. But just in case (cuz I’ve had some p fucked press drama this year) I’m announcing album here first: ————————————–It’s called Miss_Anthropocene. It’s a concept album about the anthropomorphic Goddess of climate Change: A psychedelic, space-dwelling demon/ beauty-Queen who relishes the end of the world. She’s composed of Ivory and Oil (I’ve done some illustrations of her if you scroll down my instagram). ————————————–?? I love Godly personifications of abstract/ horrific concepts (For example, Mars as the Roman God of War) — so I wanted to update the list to include our modern issues. ————————————– Each song will be a different embodiment of human extinction as depicted through a Pop star Demonology. The first song ‘we appreciate power’, introduced the pro-AI-propaganda girl group who embody our potential enslavement/destruction at the hands of Artificial General intelligence. ————————————– It’s possible I will drop an EP or a few more singles of synth-based stuff b4 the album because its mostly ethereal nu metal (ish), and I know a lot of ppl miss the synths and whatnot. ———————————- —-Climate change is something I’m only ever confronted with in a sad/ guilty way…. Reading news and what not… so my goal is to make climate change fun (lol..??)…. uhhh… (I mean, everybody loves a good villain… re: the joker, Queen Beryl).. so maybe it’ll be a bit easier to look at if it can exist as a character and not just abstract doom. ———————————-???? More musique soon! <3
Grimes has been teasing her highly anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Art Angels for quite some time and here’s what we know so far: It’s called Miss_Anthropocene which, according to the artist via an Instagram post, “is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s Geology and ecosystems including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.”
She continued to explain: “Climate change is something I’m only ever confronted with in a sad/ guilty way…. Reading news and what not… so my goal is to make climate change fun (lol..??)…. uhhh… (I mean, everybody loves a good villain… re: the joker, Queen Beryl).. so maybe it’ll be a bit easier to look at if it can exist as a character and not just abstract doom.”
My Morning Jacket
The Kentucky rock band actively works with the Waterfall Project, and on their website, one of their specific goals for 2019 was contributing to GreenWave. GreenWave focuses on supporting a new generation of ocean farmers feeding the planet and “building a blue-green economy in the era of climate change.” Things like reducing the methane output from cattle and producing the protein equivalent to 3 trillion cheeseburgers could all be the result of farming less than 5% of U.S. waters.
The band has been involved with the organization since 2009 and they currently dedicate funds, established with portions of ticket sales from U.S. shows, proceeds from special merch items and donations, to organizations like GreenWave.
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) September 13, 2017
Beyoncé advocated for the environment back in 2017, when she filmed a heartfelt message in the wake of natural disasters in India, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and the U.S. for the Hand in Hand Telethon. “Natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage, and forever change lives,” she said. “The effects of climate change are playing out around the world every day.”
Happy #WorldOceansDay! In honor of the non-profits, agencies & volunteers working for healthy oceans, Jack is sharing this @marinesanctuary video highlighting #Papah?naumoku?kea. #TogetherWeCan— work to reduce plastic pollution. https://t.co/eFf4NIDglm
— Jack Johnson (@jackjohnson) June 8, 2019
Johnson does way more than just make surf music and ride waves — he’s been a strong activist on more than one occasion. Here are just a few of the things he’s supported in the past: Bring Your Own Bottle for plastic-free July, World Oceans Day and World Environment Day, among many other movements.
Sean Paul, Sir Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow & more
Back in 2015, several artists came together to record the song and video “Love Song to the Earth.” Other artists who were included are Jon Bon Jovi, Fergie, Colbie Caillat, Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis, Johnny Rzeznik, Krewella, Angelique Kidjo (a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador), Kelsea Ballerini, Nicole Scherzinger, the late Christina Grimmie, Victoria Justice and Q’Orianka Kilcher. “Looking down from up on the moon/ It’s a tiny blue marble/ Who’d have thought the ground we stand on/ Could be so fragile,” they sing.
Bon Iver, Brett Dennen, Soja, The Decemberists, Bob Moses & more
These are just a few of the musicians who are “still in” the U.S. climate goals of the Paris Agreement. There were more than 40 artists, which also included Jack Johnson, My Morning Jacket, Sir The Baptist and Tune-Yards. Find the full list here.