Choir performing on a big stage © Jonas Persson

8 Songs About Environment and Climate Change For Your Next Choral Concert Repertoire

How a Choral Concert Focused on the Environment and Climate Change Can Be An Effective Form of Activism


Imagine this, your favorite song comes on and instantly you notice a shift in your mood. You experience an all-encompassing joy and excitement that propels you to get up and start dancing or singing, forgetting any of the troubles or worries you had before.

Music can spur us into motion and inspire us to take action. The greatest protest songs have the tremendous power to unite people together to rise up and create change.

With growing concern over our environment and climate change, your choir can raise awareness and inspire activism through your choral concert repertoire.

Here are eight songs that will spark your audience to raise their voices and advocate for change.

1. Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi” is one of the most enduring songs that talks about “green issues” and sudden changes in the environment.

The sweet melody and her timeless lyrics including “Paved paradise, put up a parking lot” will connect with your audience in a soft, simple sing-a-long.

Since the song is still actively sampled, it’s clear that Joni’s anti-industrialization and anti-globalization messages still ring true for people today.

2. Childish Gambino – Feels Like Summer

With gently strummed guitar, falsetto vocals, and a flute solo, Childish Gambino’s Grammy-nominated song “Feels Like Summer” is an easy, breezy R'n'B track with environmentally driven lyrics.

On the surface, “Feels Like Summer” sounds like a hazy afternoon slow jam but when you listen closely, you realize that Childish Gambino encourages listeners to slow down and question everything happening around us.

From increased summer temperatures to many animals going extinct, your audience will definitely pick up on the themes mentioned in this song.

3. Paul McCartney – Despite Repeated Warnings

While reading an article about climate change in the Tokyo Times, Paul McCartney got inspired by the phrase, “Despite repeated warnings, they’re not listening”.

Tired of hearing about people in power not believing in the seriousness of climate change because they feel that it is a hoax, Paul penned the seminal song “Despite Repeated Warnings” for his 2018 album, Egypt Station.

The epic, orchestral number will touch the hearts of the audience and hook them with the storytelling and political symbolism.

4. Common – Trouble in the Water

For “Trouble in the Water”, Common linked up with talented music superstars, Malik Yusef, Kumasi, Aaron Fresh, Choklate, and Laci Kay to raise awareness about climate change.

The booming anthemic single will have your audience on the edge of their seats as your choir calls for help and an end to the mistreatment of the environment.

From water contamination, rising temperatures, and polluted air, Common’s song “Trouble in the Water” will spark conversation with the lyrics, “When the water starts to kill the fish, That’s when you know how lethal is”.

5. Jack Johnson – The Three R’s

Jack Johnson’s “The Three R’s” is another sing-a-long track that teaches kids to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Though the lyrics are kid-friendly, Jack provides tangible ways that everyone can work to conserve the environment and slow down the effects of climate change.

With a simple guitar strummed melody, Jack gives hope to the next generation to take charge and live in harmony with their surroundings.

6. David Axelrod – The Warnings Part III

In one of the most environmental protest albums ever recorded, Daxel Axelrod’s Earth Rot album is a 22-minute orchestral jazz-rock extravaganza.

Propelled by a funk undertow, the lusciously chilled and disturbing “The Warning Part III” touches on how the Earth is decaying all around us and how little by little people continue to turn a blind eye.

Throuh a rock, gospel, jazz fusion, your choir’s vocal arrangements will make the audience have chills down their spine and moved to think about how they can create change.

7. Alessia Cara – How Far I'll Go

With soaring vocals and booming instrumentation, Alessia Cara belts the beautiful anthem “How Far I’ll Go” with positive determination and hope.

Disney’s hit animated film Moana focuses on the Indigenous Polynesian people and gives awareness to how the rising sea levels and destructive storms leave them vulnerable.

Shaped by water, the song dives into personal growth, discovery and identity and begs people to consider the cultures and communities that are also impacted by climate change.

8. Marvin Gaye – Mercy Mercy Me

Marvin Gaye’s underrated single “Mercy Mercy Me” is a direct indictment of the status quo that criticizes the oil crisis, political tensions, climate change, and more.

Over hazy allusions, Marvin speaks on the chemicals that caused severe damage to Vietnam’s crops and forests and the nearby Enrico Fermi nuclear plant that tainted the Detroit, Michigan area.

Through soulful vocals and meaningful lyrics, your choir will provide a safe space for everyone to process the destruction that is occurring around them.

As you can see, there are many songs about the enviroment and climate change that would deeply resonate with your audience and inspire them to take action.

We are the world, and it’s on us to make it a better place for everyone to survive.

As the world’s leading choral events organization since 1988, INTERKULTUR has brought many people together through music to spark change and empower the next generation.

Register now to take part in world-class choir events that will elevate your profile as a choral singer or conductor.

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