Music speaks to audiences in a unique way. Some people who have little interest in climate fiction, climate nonfiction, and other types of climate art may find themselves drawn in by a particularly catchy song or compelling album or playlist about the climate crisis.
I haven’t heard many published albums or songs yet that focus primarily or entirely on the climate crisis and climate justice. I have heard some, though, and I’m confident that there are many more out there. I’m currently in the process of collecting all of the ones that I’ve already heard and finding more to enjoy and share. If you have any tips, let me know.
Treesong’s Climate Music
I’ve started making my own climate music! Here are the two songs I’ve published so far.
- Global Warming (Piano Melody). This instrumental song uses climate data sonification to translate climate data directly into music. Each note represents a global temperature data point. The result isn’t exactly a catchy pop tune, but it’s a fascinating way to perceive the rise in global average temperatures using sound instead of sight.
- Global Warming (Piano, Arpeggio). This instrumental song also uses climate data sonification, but the arpeggio (chords played one note at a time) really gives it a more pleasing musical sound. This one would go well on playlists featuring climate-themed songs, instrumental music, ambient music, etc.
I’m also working on two new climate music albums! The first will be a purely instrumental album featuring songs inspired by the poems contained in my climate poetry collection, All The Climate Feels. The second will use those songs as accompaniment for my performance of the poems contained in that collection.
The Climate Music Project
The Climate Music Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, collaborative bringing together renowned scientists and world-class musicians to create musical and visual experiences guided by the scientific data on climate change. They compose music in a variety of genres to build understanding and to facilitate action across diverse communities. They have performed for audiences throughout the world and have been featured extensively in the global press.
You can listen to their climate music here.
These playlists can help you rock out to climate tunes while you work or play. If you know any climate-themed playlists that aren’t on this page, let me know.
Zero Carbon Playlist
Footprint to Wings has a great Zero Carbon Playlist featuring over fifty songs that directly or indirectly relate to the climate crisis.
Climate Justice Playlist
I curate a streaming music playlist called the Climate Justice Playlist. This playlist features inspiring songs by musicians or groups who are working for climate justice.
So far, the playlist only includes songs from People’s Climate Music, an imprint of Hip Hop Caucus’ Think 100% MUSIC. If you have any songs you’d like me to add to the list, let me know. Any music by individuals or groups who are working for climate justice is eligible for this playlist.
I’m not a musician, so I don’t get any royalties from any of these songs. This playlist is just my effort to lift up musical voices for climate justice. I also hope that making this playlist available will contribute materially to their work. The more we listen, the more royalties they get!
These albums can help you rock out to climate tunes while you work or play. If you know any climate-themed albums that aren’t on this page, let me know.
On A High Hill
On A High Hill is a solo album by Anna Fritz, a cellist and folksinger based in Portland, Oregon. Anna’s cello work has been featured on more than 50 albums by many bands including the Decemberists.The album is like an intimate concert, with Anna recording her cello and singing at the same time, just as she does in live performance. It explores themes of colonization, climate change, racial justice, and connection to the natural world. There’s a surprising power and beauty in the simple combination of soaring cello music and soulful vocals about climate justice.
These songs can help you rock out to climate tunes while you work or play. If you know any climate-themed songs that aren’t on this page, let me know.
Young People Marching
Raffi Cavoukian, award-winning children’s singer/songwriter, has also written songs about the climate crisis.
For years, like so many people, I knew Raffi as the man behind the “Baby Beluga” song, which I often sang to my daughter with the words “Baby Bedelia.” I was excited to discover that he’s also an ecological advocate with a collection of several recent songs about the climate crisis and a Raffi Foundation for Child Honoring that takes a children-first approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems. He has also released a retrospective video compilation of “Earth Songs” featuring fourteen ecologically-themed songs from throughout his career,
Young People Marching is Raffi’s song about Greta Thunberg and other youth climate strikers. Cool It is a call for climate action. Do We Love Enough speaks to the connection between our love for children and the green actions we can take for the sake of children and future generations.
I first heard about Anna Fritz on Episode 15 of the Citizens’ Climate Radio podcast. The Arthouse section of Citizens’ Climate Radio features many creative responses to the climate crisis, including numerous musicians.
Climate Data Sonification
Some climate music is made using climate data sonification.
Data sonification is the process of turning data into sound. It’s the auditory equivalent of data visualization, which turns data into images.
If you’ve ever looked at a chart, graph, or map, you’ve seen data visualization. Data sonification is a less common, but still important, way to convert scientific data into sensory input. This can help scientists and non-scientists alike deepen their understanding and appreciation of the significance of the data.
Climate data sonification takes climate data sets, such as global or local average temperatures recorded over the course of a period of time, and converts each data point into a sound. In the case of climate data music, each data point is converted into a musical note or chord.
To learn more about climate data sonification, including links to my climate music, please visit my Climate Data Sonification page.
Climate Christmas Carols
Climate Christmas Carols is a collection of climate-themed Christmas carols collected and edited by Franz for Future. This wonderful collection features 72 Advent and Christmas carols whose lyrics have been adapted to make a statement about the climate crisis. It includes some songs in English and others in German. Credit is given to both the original songwriters and the individuals or groups who wrote the new climate lyrics.
Some of these songs are funny. Others are serious. Some of them are both funny and serious. All of them help in their own way to raise awareness about the climate crisis and what we can do for climate justice.
One of the most impressive aspects of this Climate Christmas Carols collection is that it includes the sheet music! People who want to sing these carols at home or in organized caroling groups can do so without having to track down the sheet music.