Songs and Music of the Climate Action Movement

Songs and Music of the Climate Action Movement

Artists are responding to the climate protests with new songs, remixes, and versions of older protest songs.

As the movement for climate action continues to grow, accentuated by the School Strike for Climate protests inspired by the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, there is a growing body of climate change-related music appearing online and in concerts.

Remixes of Greta Thunberg’s speeches, protest songs written by singer-songwriters, instrumental music inspired by the environment, and new interpretations of older protest songs – artists are responding in a variety of ways.

Below is a remix of from the artist Dajein.

British composer and pianist Sarah Nicoll has composed a work titled Twelve Years which was inspired by the announcements on climate change last autumn and the activism of Greta Thunberg. Read our interview with Nicolls here.

Students during the global school climate strike (15 March) also performed their own songs, including this group from New Zealand.

The Journal of Music is creating a playlist of songs and music about climate change on Spotify and asking readers for their suggestions. The playlist to date includes songs by Neil Young, Nancy Kerr, Fovea Hex, Joni Mitchell, Peter Broderick, Anohni and Wendy Jack and instrumental compositions by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, James Joys and John Luther Adams.

One of the most effective groups using music in protest has been the Sunrise Movement in the United States, which has reinterpreted older protest songs specifically for the climate action movement.

Last December, the group occupied Nancy Pelosi’s office and began singing their new song ‘Does It Weigh On You?’ as 61 of them were arrested. Based on on the 1930s protest anthem ‘Which Side Are You On?’, the song’s lyrics read:

Corporations raised you up
but we can make you fall
They picked a war with our generation
does it weigh on you at all?
Which side are you on?

If you have a song to add to our Songs and Music for Climate Justice playlist, please email editor [at] or tweet us at @journalofmusic.

Published on 15 March 2019

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