In Spirit’s song “Nature’s Way”ť from the album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1996), the theme is focused on environmental problems in our society. The genre of this music piece includes the elements of classic rock, mainstream rock and folk. The main characteristic of the lyrics is its vocabulary represented by the use of repetition “It’s the nature’s way”ť. The nature is telling us that something is wrong and that people should pay more attention to environmental problems.
The song “Recycled”ť by Nectar is the shortest one among the above mentioned environmental songs, however, the lyrics of this song is propagandistic. The genre is progressive rock. The singer explores man’s relationship with nature, describes “the nature’s slow decay”ť and calls on all people to “Clean the scene; Change machines!”ť (Nectar, 1991, track 1).
In the song “Death of Mother Nature Suite”ť (1998) by Kansas, the theme is environment protection and its significance. The singer’s goal is to explain that human ignorance in relation to nature can lead to death of our planet. The poison that can be found in the seas and air causes serious damage to Mother Nature. He sings about Mother Nature: “And now she’s gonna die”ť (Kansas, 1998, track 2). The genre of this music piece is rock. This song differs from the previous ones by its clear lyrics with simple sentences.
One of the sources that address music and the social problem of environmental pollution is the article Eco-edu-tainment: the Construction of the Child in Contemporary Environmental Children’s Music by Michelle H. Martin. The author of the article discusses the role of songs about nature in children’s development. These songs not only entertain children, but also educate them. Today children’s environmental music combines the elements of musical and literary genres. The author states that he “witnessed the power of well-written eco-music”ť that helped to change the attitudes of children to nature and even their behavior. For example, the album We are All Earthlings helps to “empower listeners by convincing them that they can make a difference”ť (Martin, 2004, p. 227). This source provides analysis on how social problem of environmental pollution can be addressed through music.
One more source that addresses music and social issue of environmental pollution is the website Grinning Planet, which “uses humor as a way to get people interested in serious topics ranging from environmental degradation and health impacts to peak oil and resilience to the Ponzi money system and the corrupt elites that run it”ť (Grinning Planet, 2012). Â Here is the link http://www.grinningplanet.com/5005/environmental-resources.htm. This website represents much information on environmental protection, including video, audio, books, etc. The topics range from energy, chemicals, pollution to environmental news, movies and songs. This source can be effectively used as a tool of environmental education of children. In addition, this website contains a number of eco-articles, cartoons, quotes which help to better understand the major environmental problems that exist in our society. For example, funny quotes about pollution can help people to ponder over the causes of water/air/land/ pollution and change their attitude towards nature.
One of the peer-reviewed articles that discuss the environmental issue problem is Music and Environmental Studies by Kate Turner and Bill Freedman.Â In this article, the authors pay special attention to the use of music in environmental education which “helps to inform students through ideas incorporated in musical lyrics, while also enhancing interest in environmental topics”ť (Turner & Freedman, 2004, p. 45). Â Music can improve the individuals’ perceptions of the value of nature. In addition, the authors discuss historical and contemporary connections between musical pieces and nature, and teach about the natural world and conservation values. The key findings of this article can help to better understand the role of music in environmental education of students. According to Kate Turner and Bill Freedman (2004), “the plea by modern environmentalists to re-establish a deep connection between humans and the natural world is echoed by some musicians, who seek a re-enchantment of music and nature”ť(p. 47). Moreover, the authors discuss natural sounds, their fusion with anthropogenic music, the themes and lyrics inspired by nature. It has been found that music can be used not only to teach about the connections between human beings and nature, but also to promote an understanding of the necessity to value and conserve the environment.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that music has an enormous impact on our society. Music can be viewed as a powerful tool in investigation of a number of social issues, including ethnicity, the struggle for equality in our society, crimes and drug abuse, environmental pollution and global warming, etc.Â Environmental songs help to develop eco-consciousness both in adults and children. The analysis represented in this paper can help in the study of American Popular Culture, because music is an effective mode for the production and consumption of popular culture.