Many people believe that unless we change the way we live today, tomorrow’s world will look nothing like it does today. From warming global temperatures and changing weather patterns to more severe storms and rising sea levels, the effects of climate change have the potential to impact everyone. That’s why many songs about climate change have been written over the years.
Music has always been a powerful way of communicating controversial issues, such as climate change. Have a listen to these powerful songs about our changing climate and see how quiet, singular voices can amplify as part of a movement to help bring real change to the world by contributing solutions to a common cause.
Table of Contents
1. Tell Me How Long by Kristen Bell
|Album||Chasing Coral (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)|
“Tell Me How Long” is a song co-written by Dan Romer and Teddy Geiger for the environmental documentary Chasing Coral, directed by Jeff Orlowski. It was performed and recorded by actress and singer Kristen Bell. The song is an inspirational call about climate change and the silent yet devastating effects that the crisis is raging on Earth’s oceans. The acidification of the oceans is contributing to the bleaching and loss of coral reefs all around the world. Kristen Bell lent her voice to the song as she saw the film as a way to ignite real action in advancing climate solutions. Chasing Coral won the Audience Award for US Documentary at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and can now be streamed on Netflix.
2. Shattered Garden by John Stea (Featuring Maggie Richardson)
“Shattered Garden” is a powerful and catchy song about environmental and climate change awareness. It was co-written by John Stea and John Behrens and features Maggie Richardson on vocals. “Shattered Garden” is a thought-provoking tune that takes place in the future and follows the flight of an endangered bird. The bird navigates through a landscape in turmoil, with deforestation and pollution being the main themes in this song about global climate change. Singer-songwriter John Stea notes that the song is dedicated to the youth of today, the leaders of the current environmental movement.
3. Send It On by Disney’s Friends for Change (Featuring Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers)
|Genre||Pop, Public Service Announcement|
“Send It On” is a public service announcement song that stresses environmental issues and encourages people to take action against climate change and to live more eco-friendly lives. The song was co-written by Peer Åström, Adam Anders, and Nikki Hassman and was part of the Disney Channel’s Friends for Change: Project Green initiative that started in the summer of 2009. “Send It On” features Miley Cyrus, Selena Gozem, Demi Lovato, and Jonas Brothers. It peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. There are several different uploads of the official music video on YouTube, with a collective view count of over 18 million.
4. Our Biggest Challenge by Symphony of Science
|Genre||Mashup, Montage, Sound Collage|
|Album||Symphony of Science|
“Our Biggest Challenge” is a mashup song with sound samples taken from esteemed climate scientists. It is a musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change. The track includes sound clips from Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Isaac Asimov, and Richard Alley. In the music video, opportunities to use science to offset our changing climate are suggested. As of October 2022, the video has over one million views on YouTube. “Our Biggest Challenge” is the sixteenth episode in the Symphony of Science series created by musician and filmmaker John Boswell and released under his performance name Melodysheep. Boswell created the series to present scientific knowledge and philosophy in an accessible musical form.
5. Earth by Lil Dicky
|Genre||Pop, Comedy Hip Hop|
“Earth” is a charity song performed by Lil Dicky, featuring some of the most prominent musicians in the world. It was released as a charity single a few days before Earth Day in 2019. The song is a call to raise awareness about the climate crisis and environmental conservation. Just before its release, Dicky previewed the star-studded music video on the Ellen show. Among many other notable celebrity appearances, Justin Beiber plays a baboon, Ed Sheeran plays a koala bear, and Ariana Grande plays a zebra in the music video. As of October 2022, the video has over 374 million views on YouTube. “Earth” peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. All proceeds from sales of the song went to the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation.
6. Dear Future Generations: Sorry by Prince Ea
|Genre||Spoken Word, Rap|
Written by rapper and poet Richard Williams, known as Prince Ea, “Dear Future Generations: Sorry” is a spoken word song about climate change. The first half of the song is an apology letter to future generations for the destruction of the planet during our time. The second part of the song is a hopeful plea to the people living in the present to start taking steps to help fight climate change. Prince Ea says, “we must globally warm our hearts and change the climate of our souls.” As of October 2022, the music video has been viewed over 28 million times on YouTube.
7. All The Good Girls Go To Hell by Billie Eilish
|Genre||Alternative, Indie, Pop|
|Album||When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?|
“All the Good Girls Go to Hell” was co-written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell. It was released as the sixth single from Eilish’s 2019 debut studio album. Eilish performed the song during her first award show performance at the 2019 American Music Awards ceremony. The song peaked in the US at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was later certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The music video, which has over 216 million views on YouTube, was nominated for Best Cinematography, Video For Good, and Best Visual Effects at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. Eilish called upon her fans to take to the streets and make their voices heard in the build-up of the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where political leaders discussed environmental issues such as global warming, melting ice caps, rising seas, and so on.
8. Earth Song by Michael Jackson
|Album||HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I|
“Earth Song” is a socially conscious song written by Michael Jackson and released as the third single on his 1995 album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The short film “Earth Song” was directed by Nicholas Brandt and earned Jackson the Doris Day Music Award at the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards in 1996. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. According to Jackson, the song is a plea for environmental awareness of the “suffering and plight” of Planet Earth. He saw the song as his chance to let people hear the voice of the planet as it struggles amidst ecological imbalances, unchecked development, overpopulation, and natural devastation. As of October 2022, the music video has over 364 million views on YouTube and another 94 million streams on Spotify.
9. It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.
“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” was written and recorded by R.E.M. The song was released as the second single on the band’s 1987 album Document. While the song is not overtly about climate change, the lyrics share the sentiment of many climate scientists and the general public that the world we are living in now will not be the world of the future. According to Billboard, downloads and streams of the song surged over the last two years amid the pandemic. Downloads have jumped 184 percent, while on-demand streams have increased by nearly 50 percent. During this pronounced widespread attention, the song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart in 2020. If you like this song, you’ll definitely want to check out our playlist of songs about the end of the world.
10. When the Levee Breaks by John Paul Jones (Featuring Stephen Perkins, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, and Many Others)
|Genre||Rock, Country Blues|
|Album||Peace Through Music: A Global Event for the Environment|
Originally written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929, “When the Levee Breaks” is a powerful song about the most destructive river flooding in United States history, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Led Zeppelin reworked this classic song about environmental destruction and released their version on their 1971 album Led Zeppelin IV. John Paul Jones, the drummer of Led Zeppelin, teamed up with over twenty musicians from several different countries to perform this Song Around The World version of “When the Levee Breaks.” The performance is featured in Peace Through Music: A Global Event for the Environment.
11. Truth To Power by OneRepublic
|Album||An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (Music From The Motion Picture)|
“Truth To Power” was written and produced by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, alongside Grammy Award-winning musician and producer T Bone Burnett. The song was written for the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power. The film is the follow-up to Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which raised concerns over our society’s impact on climate change. The second film is an exploration of how humans have responded to the call for action in the years since the first film. “Truth To Power” was nominated for The Satellite Award for Best Original Song, an award given by the International Press Academy. In my opinion, this is one of the most powerful songs about climate change.
12. Climate Change Song by Matt and Joanna Pace
“Climate Change Song” was co-written by Matt and Joanna Pace in partnership with Octopus Electric Vehicles. The song was created with the goal of helping children understand global warming and other effects of climate change while offering solutions to make the world a better place. As of October 2022, the “Climate Change Song” animated video, which was created by Dakota Sheperd and Jason McNeil, has over two million views on YouTube. The lyrics of this kids’ educational song touch on environmental issues like deforestation, recycling, sustainable energy, rising seas and temperatures, and other climate change-related topics.
13. Beds Are Burning by Midnight Oil
|Album||Diesel and Dust|
“Beds Are Burning” was written and recorded by the Australian rock band Midnight Oil. It was released on their breakthrough 1987 album Diesel and Dust. The song was a #1 single in several countries and peaked at number 17 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100. It was named one of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Beds Are Burning” is a commentary on the treatment of Australia’s indigenous people, but it has recently become an anthem for climate change. In 2009, it was used as the world’s first musical petition as part of ‘tck tck tck campaign for the environmental organization Time for Climate Justice. As of October 2022, the music video for “Beds Are Burning” has over 205 million views on YouTube.
14. Emergency! by Spirit Young Performers Company
“Emergency!” was co-written by Sophie Boyce and Fred Feeney. It was performed by the London-based performing arts organization Spirit Young Performers Company. The song was inspired by youth climate activists that led protests demanding governments take action to help solve the climate crisis. A lively performance of “Emergency!” was used as a contribution to the London School Strike for Climate, which is part of an international movement of school students who skip school on Fridays to participate in demonstrations to demand action from government officials. The main goals of the protests are to raise awareness about climate change and inspire leaders to help the world transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
15. Climate Change by GAWVI (Featuring Aklesso and Wordsplayed)
|Genre||Christian Hip Hop|
“Climate Change” was written and recorded by Christian rapper and hip-hop artist GAWVI, the artist formerly known as G-Styles. The tune, which features Aklesso and Wordsplayed, was released on GAWVI’s 2020 album Heathen. Just before its release, GAWVI posted a teaser of the song on Instagram live to promote “Climate Change,” while Aklesso also posted a video of himself in the studio singing along to his verse on the trap-influenced track. GAWVI’s album was nominated for Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year at the 51st Gospel Music Association’s annual Dove Awards. As of October 2022, “Climate Change” has nearly 2.5 million streams on Spotify.
16. Mother Nature – Global Warming by Raftaar
|Genre||Desi Hip Hop, Urban|
“Mother Nature – Global Warming” is a song co-written by Raftaar and Nilesh. Raftaar released the song as a single in 2014 as a special promotion leading up to the UN Climate Change Summit. “Mother Nature” was used as part of the Ask Why Why Not campaign put on by the Climate Reality Project. The lyrics urge people to get involved in creating solutions to climate change. Raftaar encourages the youth to be the voice of their generation and to speak up against government inaction on climate change, which affects everyone around the globe. If you’re looking for songs about global warming, this is certainly one you’re going to want to add to your playlist.
17. Global Warming by Pitbull (Featuring Sensato)
|Genre||Pop-Rap, Dance-Pop, Hip Hop|
“Global Warming” is the title track on Pitbull’s 2012 album of the same name. It was written by Pitbull, with a handful of other collaborators, including New York-based Dominican rapper Sensato, who is also featured on the song. The short tune heavily samples one of the best Spanish dance songs of all time, “Macarena,” originally written by Los del Río and remixed by the Miami-based producers The Bayside Boys. The album Global Warming peaked at number 14 on the Billboard 200 chart and was later certified 2x Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
18. The Climate Song by Sing For The Climate
|Genre||Educational, Folk, Pop|
|Album||Sing For The Climate|
“The Climate Song,” also known as “Do It Now!” is an environmental awareness song written by Belgian climate activists in 2012 for the organization Sing For The Climate. Released in more than twenty different languages, it was part of an initiative demanding world leaders to take action against climate change, with hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world singing the song. A montage video of the song being performed across the globe was shown at the final meeting of the UN Climate Conference in Doha. Many activists believe the song had a large part in encouraging politicians to reach an agreement and extend the Kyoto Protocol.
19. Karma of the Butterfly Effect by JAHBOY
|Genre||Reggae Fusion, Roots, Island|
“Karma of the Butterfly Effect” is a youth climate change protest song by JAHBOY, one of Solomon Islands’ most celebrated artists. The song was released on JAHBOY’s 2019 album Green Project, and musically, is a mix of reggae fusion, island, roots, and pop sounds. The lyrics are about climate change and global warming in particular. JAHBOY references rising seas that threaten to wash away his beloved island home. He calls upon the youth of the world to protest against the destruction of the environment. JAHBOY gives special thanks to the Disappearing World Project and Human Impact Foundation, two organizations at the forefront of climate change whose missions are to help people that have been displaced by the climate crisis.
20. Shut It Down by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
“Shut It Down” is an environmental protest song written by Neil Young with Crazy Horse. It was released on his 2019 album Colorado. The lyrics suggest people need to shut down the world as a system to accomplish the changes we want to see in regard to stopping climate change. The song has taken on new meaning over the last couple of years as nations around the world shut down and encouraged their citizens to stay inside amidst an unprecedented crisis. The official music video, created by Young and his wife, actress Daryl Hannah, features scenes of the band performing the song at the mountainside recording studio, Studio In The Clouds, located in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride, Colorado. It also shows scenes of entire populations coming to a standstill as the world deals with an unprecedented crisis.
21. Take AIM At Climate Change by Rhythm, Rhyme, Results (Featuring Tommy Boots & Jené)
|Genre||Educational, Hip Hop, Pop|
“Take AIM At Climate Change” is a song written by the Massachusetts-based educational company, Rhythm, Rhyme, Results. As the title suggests, the song is about taking deliberate actions to stop climate change. The lyrics highlight all of the issues related to climate change, like global warming, rising seas, and more extreme weather. While educating people on the issues at hand, the song offers ideas for actions people can take, such as practicing conservation. The lyrics are encouraging, noting that through individual and community efforts, a million tiny little things can produce immense benefits for the world.
Related Article: Epic Playlist of Songs About Change
22. Manhattan In January by Jill Sobule
“Manhattan in January” is a happy song about global warming, written by one of the more insightful satirists of our age, Jill Sobule. She first performed and recorded the song at the TED2006 event in Los Angeles. Sobule was inspired to write the song after hearing Al Gore’s speech on the climate crisis which highlighted issues such as global warming, the impending collapse of ecological systems, and extreme weather conditions. The lyrics are ironic and thought-provoking, as she sings about unusually warm weather during a normally frigid winter in New York. The figurehead of the climate change movement, Al Gore, gave Sobule a standing ovation after her performance of “Manhattan in January.”
23. Making Do by Lake Street Dive
|Genre||Pop-Soul, Folk Rock|
“Making Do” is a climate change awareness song co-written by Bridget Kearney and Mike Calabrese of the band Lake Street Dive. It was released on the band’s 2021 album Obviously. The album charted well in the US and UK, peaking on the Billboard Folk Albums chart and the Billboard 200 chart at #3 and #63, respectively. The lyrics offer an apology to future generations while critiquing people in the present who either believe nothing is wrong or that have the attitude that our actions are futile against climate change. Rising ocean levels, killer waves, and all-around environmental destruction are covered in “Making Do.” The ocean is truly amazing, so if you want more songs related to it, check out these songs about the ocean.
24. Climate Change by Cooper Alan
“Climate Change” is a song co-written by Cooper Alan, Victoria Shaw, and Seth Mosley. It was released as Alan’s debut single in 2019. The lyrics compare a trying relationship to the effects of climate change. Within his relationship, Alan sings about more storms and changing temperatures, alluding to the fact that climate change is real, as he feels it with his significant other. As of October 2022, the song has over three million streams on Spotify, while the official lyric video has another 100,000 views on YouTube. If you like this song, check out our playlist of songs about storms.
That does it for this playlist. Let us know if there are any great songs we should add to this list in the comments below.
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Butler, Pennsylvania. I’ve been obsessed with music and audio gear for as long as I can remember. I started this website to help people find professional advice related to a wide range of audio topics. We have a number of Audio Engineers on our team who have been designing and fixing audio gear for decades.