Nature is beautiful. From the thick green forests to the oceans, clear blue skies, dusty desert sunsets, and water creeks. Sadly, human activities have done more harm than good to our planet over the years.
Earth Day, celebrated annually on the 22nd of April, is an environmental event that started in 1970. This event honors the achievement of environmental movements and raises environmental protection awareness for future generations.
Many artists have used their singing talent to raise awareness about global warming, climate change, and environmental protection for Earth Day. Many other musicians have used their reach and connection with their audiences to champion environmental issues and preservation in their work.
We have curated a list of some inspiring earth songs that urge everyone to become environmentally conscious and appreciate nature.
Read on as we run through our playlist of 34 best songs about nature you can listen to today.
For more inspiration about what famous and some not-so-famous people have to say about our natural world, check out our nature quotes & environment quotes. You might also like our list of prominent environmentalists to read up more on people taking action to protect our precious planet.
This 1995 top-chatter, Earth Song by Michael Jackson, is an environmental song that addresses issues like terrorism, pollution, animal treatment, and other environmental ills.
This emotional song memorably presents these issues, leaving us to wonder if humanity still has the time to reverse the terrible damage done to the earth. It also reminds us of our responsibility to care for our natural world. This was the last song performed before Michael Jackson’s passing in 2009.
One of the best songs of nature is ‘Mercy Mercy Me’ by Marvin Gaye. This beautiful song celebrates the beauty of our natural world and reminds us to appreciate nature more. In the lyrics of this song, the composer laments about the damage done to our natural environment. This includes climate change, oil spillage, and air pollution.
This R&B tune was composed in 1971 but became a hit years later when global climate change became a major concern.
Folk singer Joni Mitchell composed this powerful song after being inspired by a trip to Hawaii, observing the beautiful landscape from her hotel window.
She observes a parking lot right below a mountain. She thinks about how humanity has taken nature for granted in her song, singing about how humankind has replaced the natural world with manufactured things. She sings:
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
~ Joni Mitchell
This 2015 pop song by Gotye talks about nature and the chilling side effects of human activity on the natural world. Are we willing to save the world, or will it be too late? Will we walk into the end of civilization with eyes wide open?
The official video features a post-apocalyptic world warning us of the earth’s destruction to come.
4 minutes, released in 2006 by Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, is a hit song about how there isn’t enough time to save the world and the need to make the most of life.
The lyrics describe the beauty of nature and the need for humans to take a break out of their busy daily lives to enjoy the natural world. In her song, Madonna talks about taking a walk in the woods or counting the shining stars.
This 1972 rock song by John Denver is one of Colorado’s official state songs that describes the beauty of its mountains and the impending destruction that comes with development.
Rocky Mountain High is one of the most iconic songs that celebrate nature. The song is a classic that leaves us in awe and wonder of nature.
Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest, and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake
~ John Denver
Another great song by John Denver is this singalong that talks about the beautiful landscapes in the state of West Virginia. The lyrics beautifully paint a naturally serene environment, making you feel at home.
Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, growin' like a breeze
~ John Denver
In Seminole Wind, John Anderson sings about how the Seminole group of Native Americans had to watch immigrants drain the Florida Everglades in search of gold and silver. After the immigrants dug up the natural resources, the land was left bare.
The song talks about the destructiveness of draining the earth because of economic development.
Radioactive is a 2012 electro-rock song featuring a post-apocalyptic universe. The verse paints a picture of living in a world engulfed by dust, smoke, and hazardous chemicals. The song's narrator also sings about the importance of waking up to our changing world. The song suggests that humanity should take caution or watch the earth perish.
This rock song by Canned Heat became popular with nature-loving people who just wanted to get away from the concrete jungle and become closer to earth. The singer suggests that his friend leaves the city and goes to the country where they can be closer to nature. It became a hit after it was performed at Woodstock in 1969.
This rock song from 1987 laments the mistreatment of indigenous Australians who got their lands destroyed. The song talks about the indifference toward their suffering, complete with a call to return their lands to them. In 1988, this beautiful song became an international hit and was famous for its message of social justice.
‘Make a Little Wave’ is a 2009 Disney song about social activism's power. Disney stars created the song to raise funds for the preservation of the environment and wildlife charities. The piece suggests that one dedicated person could make little adjustments that could have a massive impact on the larger natural world.
‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong is one of the most iconic songs that has made it up the music charts and even the Hall of Fame. This song calls attention to the beautiful wonders of nature, from the blue skies to the roses, rainbows, and other natural phenomena. This soothing song encourages us all to take a minute to admire all of nature.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed days, the dark sacred nights
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
~ Louis Armstrong
The Dave Matthews Band released this song in 1998 as a monument to America's indigenous people who had their land taken from them by European colonists. Matthews wrote the song in response to the water supply crisis and persecution these indigenous people experienced as colonists ripped their land from them.
In the song, the non-native narrator aims to displace residents of the land and construct on their property.
Originally recorded in 1970 by Joni Mitchell, this version by The Counting Crows was released in 2003 and became an international hit.
The song describes a plot of land which was cleared out because of economic development. This beautiful piece of land was paved over and used to build a hotel, a nightclub, a parking lot, and a boutique. It addresses the issue of deforestation and how we are at risk of losing all of nature due to development.
One of the best songs about nature is ‘Despite Repeated Warnings’ by McCartney. In this song, McCartney warns humanity to take note of the changes happening in our environment.
This pop song tells the story of a sea captain stirring us towards chunks of ice and a dangerous shipwreck despite warnings. The song calls out politicians who claim global warming is a farce. However, the song ends with hope for our world, stating that change starts from the community’s desire.
In this song, Cat Stevens expresses his worries about issues like inequality, contamination, and violence. He sings about modern developments that have improved our lives but also damaged our environment. He talks about how our roads have covered up the grasses and how tall skyscrapers have replaced our children’s playgrounds.
This excellent song encourages everyone to stop polluting the earth and think of the future of generations to come.
Mother Nature’s Son was inspired to write this song after a trip to a transcendental meditation while in India in 1968. Paul McCartney has always had a connection to nature, and he expresses this in the lyrics of this song. McCartney recorded the song while alone in the studio.
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone” is one of the best songs about nature that comes with a political edge. The song discusses the absence of flowers for young boys and young girls.
The song narrates the story of young girls who start by picking flowers, growing up to get married to men who go to war, die, and get buried, only to receive flowers. It talks about the destruction humans have brought to nature due to wars. Just like nature, war is cyclical.
This tune is one of the best songs about nature, addressing the environmental issue of water pollution. Beach Boys urges humanity to stay out of the ocean and not pollute it.
They also sing about the consequences of water pollution on the lives that stay on land. This song was released on the Surf’s Up album in 1971.
Written by Neil Young in 1970, After the Gold Rush is one of the best nature songs about various environmental issues. The song takes you on an interesting journey through time. It begins with the Middle Ages and ends with life on a distant planet in the future.
In this song, the earth becomes so uninhabitable due to climate change and pollution that humanity must look for a different place to live.
Natural Beauty is one of the songs about nature that helps you appreciate the beauty that nature brings. In this song, Neil takes a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature.
He sings about how important it is for humanity to preserve nature, referencing the Amazon's deforestation for many decades.
This bouncy melodious song creates an exciting feeling of fishing on a perfect evening. While the song talks about the excitement of fishing, it is also a love song about a peaceful, happy sitting in the dark with a loved one.
You and me go fishin’ in the dark
Lyin’ on our backs and countin’ the stars
Where the cool grass grows
Down by the river in the full moonlight
~ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
If you're thinking of nature songs with a descriptive and positive vibe, this is one song that delivers just that.
Released in 1990, “Pass It On Down” reminds us that our environment is not just for us but something we must pass down to generations to come. The song addresses issues like the hole in the ozone layer. He sings:
And Lord, I believe from the heavens to the seas
We're bringing Mother Nature to her knees
The song explains that if we do nothing about our planet, our children will be left with nothing but an environment plagued by deforestation, acid rain, and other environmental ills.
This song by Jack Johnson promotes the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), a popular concept for environmental conservation. Jack Johnson sings about the mitigation against climate change and educates the public on how to avoid littering.
He mentions that these efforts will ultimately create an environment where the next generation can live in sync with the environment.
If you're going to the market to buy some juice
You've got to bring your own bags, and you learn to reduce your waste
And if your brother or your sister's got some cool clothes
You could try them on before you buy some more of those
Reuse, we've got to learn to reuse”
~ Jack Jonhson
“(Nothing but) Flowers” reverses the case by describing a post-apocalyptic world where nature has taken over modern society. Now, there are no restaurants or technology in this new world: just beautiful flowers and nature.
In the song, the singer struggles between the convenience that modern life brings and reclaiming nature. He laments about being unable to mow the grass or buy a ready-made meal.
We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
You got it, you got it”
~ Talking Heads
This classic song from 1986 is about environmental activism. In an interview with Spin Magazine, Bill Berry explained that the song was specifically about Acid Rain, a major ecological issue back then.
He talks about how fossil fuels are burned, and toxic gases like sulfur dioxide are released into the atmosphere, creating acid rain, which damages our trees, sea animals, waterways, and ecosystems.
We all agree that the hustle and bustle of the modern world can be exhausting. Out in the Country shares this sentiment and talks about an escape to the rural areas to breathe and forget it all.
This song was released on the first year of Earth Day and rose on the US music charts to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Lost in the Wild uses the wild as an analogy to describe moving into love and diving into the unexplored. It beautifully uses landscape imagery that makes you appreciate nature. The song mentions sunshine, rain, rivers, and night. The song also talks about letting go of self-restraint and not worrying about purpose.
Written and performed by OneRepublic in 2017, Truth to Power is a song that speaks to humanity from the standpoint of Mother Nature. Mother Nature speaks to her loved one(the planet) and reminds people of her vulnerable state. She wishes that humanity could believe in her.
The song addresses societal and environmental issues like climate change and points out that continuous negligence has long-term consequences.
After learning about the nuclear disaster at Chornobyl, lead singer Dolores O’Riordan found herself inspired to write this song. In the song, she talks about how the planet won't last much longer with nuclear disasters, warning everyone to think about the effects of their actions on the earth. Her distinct vocals make this an almost haunting nature song.
In this song by the band Depeche Mode, they express the adverse effects of human nature on the planet. This song which features in their album, Construction Time Again, this song uses personification, with mountains and valleys sighing and crying to address the bleeding countryside and the destruction of several hectares of wood due to human intrusion.
Now we're rearranging there's no use denying
Mountains and valleys can't you hear them sighing?
Evolution, the solution or the certainty
Can you imagine this intrusion of their privacy?”
~ Depeche Mode
In 2007, Will.i.Am, the lead vocalist of the Black Eyed Peas, released S.O.S (Mother Nature), addressing environmental issues like global warming and climate change. The song describes the rapid changes happening on our planet and how Mother Nature is in Danger.
The song also addresses the issue of government funding for environmental protection. Will explains that technology and money shouldn’t be a significant concern, urging us to change our approach to prioritizing our ecology and ecological conservation.
Dar Williams wrote this thought-provoking environmental song in 2012. In it, she expresses her concerns about the disappearing vegetation. She explains in her music the need for environmental protection, saying we don't have to kill all the bees for honey.
Dar Williams is a traveling musician who also volunteers for environmental causes. This includes her Give Bees A Camp project which involves planting bee-friendly plants for kids.
We should all see nature around us as a gift. We have compiled nature songs, both old and new, each beautiful in its way. Some make you appreciate nature's beauty, while others pass a strong message to humanity to protect it.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.