Millions of people coming together for one purpose is a beautiful thing. And with millions coming together this fall for 24 Hours of Reality to make world leaders take action on climate change, we figured the occasion called for music. Great music.
So as we look ahead to 24 Hours of Reality and our chance to make history at the UN climate talks in Paris, we wanted to look back at some of the songs that played their own part in making history.
Why? Look back at the great movements of the past 100-plus years and there’s been great music behind them. Songs to march to. Songs that somehow found the words for what millions were feeling. Songs that could look squarely at the pain, sorrow and confusion all around and still inspire hope. Songs that reminded people what they were fighting for and roused them to greater things than they dared believe possible.
Which is why we’re partnering with our friends at Live Earth—the celebrated production team behind the Live Earth concerts in 2007—to make great music with performances from artists all over the world part of 24 Hours of Reality and Live Earth: The World Is Watching on Nov. 13 - 14.
So as we look ahead to 24 Hours of Reality and our chance to make history at the UN climate talks in Paris, we wanted to look back at some of the songs that played their own part in making history. While there’s no way for a list like this to be even close to complete—for every anthem below, there are at least five more we didn’t have the space to include—but each song here has inspired countless listeners to dream of and work for a better world. And that’s a beautiful thing. Listen and take heart.
1. The Suffrage Movement
“March of the Women”
As the movement for universal suffrage gathered steam on both sides of the Atlantic, Dame Ethyl Smith wrote this hymn in 1910 to inspire British suffragettes, dedicating it “[T]o the Women’s Social and Political Union,” one of the leading and most vocal organizations working for the franchise. Performed by a contemporary ensemble in the clip here, the musical style and sensibilities evoke an earlier time, but the determination shining through is timeless.
2. The Labor Movement
“Which Side Are You On?”
In 1931, thugs hired by the local mine company came to the home of Sam Reece, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky. He escaped just in time, but his wife, Florence, had to watch these company deputies search her house and terrorize her children. Her response was to write “Which Side Are You On?” that very night. While Pete Seeger’s cover helped bring the song to widespread attention, the simmering rage and rasp of Reece’s rendition reaches into the soul with a question that still resonates today.
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3. The Civil Rights Movement: “We Shall Overcome”
Hailed as “the most powerful song of the 20th century” by none other than the Library of Congress, “We Shall Overcome” grew out of African American hymns and an early version was heard on the picket lines of a Charleston, South Carolina cigar factory. Pete Seeger changed the lyrics ever so slightly and then folk singer Guy Carawan introduced it to Civil Rights activists in the 60s. And the rest truly is history.
(While choosing just one song from this era is painfully difficult, we would be criminally negligent if we didn’t also mention Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”)
4. The Anti-War Movement: “Blowin’ in the Wind”
Inspired by a spiritual sung by freed slaves, “No More Auction Block” and reportedly written in 10 minutes in a New York café, Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” was actually first popularized by the ensemble Peter, Paul and Mary and quickly became one of the anthems of both the U.S. civil rights and anti-war movements. How and why are no mystery. As the legendary music critic Greil Marcus told NPR:
"You know, there are songs that are more written by their times than by any individual in that time, a song that the times seem to call for, a song that is just gonna be a perfect strike rolled right down the middle of the lane and the lane has already been grooved for the strike. And this was that kind of song.”
5. The Marriage Equality Movement: “Same Love”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ lyrical assault on homophobia was first released in 2012 as Washington State voters were preparing to vote on a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. And say what you want about two straight guys making a song about gay rights, “Same Love” on heavy rotation in the following years made sure top-40 radio listeners in the U.S. were hearing and thinking about the issue in a way no other song had. Its timing couldn’t have been more perfect: as mainstream American opinion was shifting in the lead up to the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell vs. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage, this was its soundtrack.
6. The Climate Movement: “Love Song to the Earth”
With the UN climate talks on the horizon and people on every continent speaking up to demand an agreement that can help stop climate change, artists Toby Gad, Natasha Bedingfield, John Shanks and Sean Paul realized they needed an anthem. So they wrote one and got Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, Fergie, Colbie Caillat, Leona Lewis, Johnny Rzeznik, Krewella, Angelique Kidjo Kelsea Ballerini, Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Grimmie, Victoria Justice and Q’orianka Kilcher to perform along with them. The result is “Love Song to the Earth.”
What did we miss? What songs inspire you? Let us know on Twitter with hashtag #ShareTheLoveSong. In the meantime, add your voice to the global chorus demanding world leaders take action with a breakthrough climate agreement in Paris.
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Transitioning to renewable energy can help reduce global warming, and Jennie Stephens of Northeastern University says it can also drive social change.
For example, she says that locally owned businesses can lead the local clean energy economy and create new jobs in underserved communities.
"We really need to think about … connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about," she says, "whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health and well-being."
To maximize that potential, she says the energy sector must have more women and people of color in positions of influence. Research shows that leadership in the solar industry, for example, is currently dominated by white men.
"I think that a more inclusive, diverse leadership is essential to be able to effectively make these connections," Stephens says. "Diversity is not just about who people are and their identity, but the ideas and the priorities and the approaches and the lens that they bring to the world."
So she says by elevating diverse voices, organizations can better connect the climate benefits of clean energy with social and economic transformation.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.
Size Matters<p>Climates are a bit like woven tapestries. The big picture is important, no question. But so are all the seemingly minor details found inside the larger whole.</p><p><a href="https://research-information.bris.ac.uk/en/persons/tommaso-jucker" target="_blank">Tommaso Jucker</a> is an environmental scientist at the University of Bristol. In an email, Jucker says he'd define the term microclimate as "the suite of climatic conditions (temperature, rainfall, humidity, solar radiation) measured in localized areas, typically near the ground and at spatial scales that are directly relevant to ecological processes."</p><p>We'll talk about that last bit in a minute. But first, there's another criteria to discuss. According to some researchers, a microclimate — by definition — must differ from the larger area that surrounds it.</p><p><a href="https://www.cfc.umt.edu/research/paleoecologylab/publications/Davis_et_al_2019_Ecography.pdf" target="_blank">Forests</a> provide us with some great examples. "The climate near the ground in a tropical rainforest is dramatically different from the climate in the canopy 50 meters [164 feet] above," says University of Montana ecologist <a href="https://www.cfc.umt.edu/personnel/details.php?ID=1110" target="_blank">Solomon Dobrowski</a> in an email. "This vertical gradient among other factors allows for the staggering biodiversity we see in the tropics."</p><p>Likewise, scientists observed that a 2015 partial <a href="https://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/bees-stopped-buzzing-during-2017-solar-eclipse.htm" target="_blank">solar eclipse</a> caused the air temperature of an Eastern European meadow to <a href="https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wea.2802" target="_blank">change more dramatically</a> than it did in a nearby forest. That's because trees provide not only shade, but their leaves also reflect solar radiation. At the same time, forests tend to reduce wind speeds.</p><p>All those factors add up. A 2019 review of 98 wooded places — spread out across five continents — found that forests are 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) <a href="https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/posts/47363-forests-protect-animals-and-plants-against-warming" target="_blank">cooler on average</a> than the areas outside them.</p><p>Now if you hate the cold, don't worry; there's a cozy exception to the rule. According to that same study, forests are usually 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than the external environment during the wintertime. Pretty cool.</p>
A Bug's Life<p>When does a microclimate stop being, well, micro? In other words, is there a maximum size we should be aware of when discussing them?</p><p>Depends on who you ask. "In terms of horizontal scale, some have defined 'microclimate' as anything that is less than 100 meters [328 feet] in range," Jucker says. "I'm personally less prescriptive about this."</p><p>Instead, he says the "scale at which we want to measure [a particular] microclimate" ought to be "dictated" by the questions we're trying to answer.</p><p>"If I want to know how temperature affects the photosynthesis of a leaf, I should be measuring temperature at centimeter scale," Jucker explains. "If I want to know if and how temperature affects the habitat preference of a large, mobile mammal, it's probably more relevant to capture temperature variation across [tens to hundreds] of meters."</p><p>For instance, solitary plants have the power to generate itty-bitty microclimates. Just ask <a href="https://www.colorado.edu/geography/peter-blanken-0" target="_blank">Peter Blanken</a>, a geography professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the co-author of the 2016 book, "<a href="https://amzn.to/2XN6FT8" target="_blank">Microclimate and Local Climate</a>."</p>
The urban heat island effect is a good example of how microclimates work. NOAA
Microclimates on a Grand Scale<p>It's no secret that our planet is going through some rough times at the macro level. The global temperature is <a href="https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/global-temperature/" target="_blank">climbing</a>; nine out of the <a href="https://www.noaa.gov/news/2019-was-2nd-hottest-year-on-record-for-earth-say-noaa-nasa" target="_blank">10 hottest years on record</a> have occurred since 2005. And by one recent estimate, roughly 1 million species around the world are <a href="https://ipbes.net/sites/default/files/2020-02/ipbes_global_assessment_report_summary_for_policymakers_en.pdf" target="_blank">facing extinction</a> due to human activities.</p><p>"One of the big questions that ecologists and environmental scientists are trying to answer right now is how will individual species and whole ecosystems respond to rapid climate change and habitat loss," says Jucker. "...To me, [microclimates are] a key component of this research — if we don't measure and understand climate at the appropriate scale, then predicting how things will change in the future becomes a lot harder."</p><p>Developers have long understood the impact small-scale climates have on our daily lives. <a href="https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/urban-heat-island.htm#pt0" target="_blank">Urban heat islands</a> are cities that have higher temperatures than neighboring rural areas.</p><p>Plants release vapors that can moderate local climates. But in cities, natural greenery is often scarce. To make matters worse, plenty of our roads and buildings have a bad habit of absorbing or re-emitting heat from the sun. <a href="https://www.google.com/books/edition/Microclimate_and_Local_Climate/LHUZDAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=urban%20heat%20island" target="_blank">Vehicle emissions</a> don't exactly help the situation.</p><p>Still, it's not like Boston or Beijing are thermal monoliths. Sometimes, the documented temperatures <a href="https://e360.yale.edu/features/can-we-turn-down-the-temperature-on-urban-heat-islands" target="_blank">within a single city</a> vary by 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 to 11.1 degrees Celsius).</p><p>That's where metro parks and city trees come in. They have nice cooling effects on nearby neighborhoods. "Several cities around the world have developed programs to increase urban green spaces," says Blanken. "Tree planting programs and green roof programs, have been shown to lower surface temperatures, decrease air pollution and decrease surface water runoff (urban flash-flooding) in urban areas."</p>
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By Jeff Berardelli
Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020
If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.
<div id="ecf36" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c2dcc9d48a6cd61f247df1544539a783"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1290959314132361216" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Naming heatwaves is a good idea—making the abstract concrete, the invisible visible. Why should hurricanes and wild… https://t.co/hDWgYb79Ob</div> — Ed Maibach (@Ed Maibach)<a href="https://twitter.com/MaibachEd/statuses/1290959314132361216">1596623660.0</a></blockquote></div>
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