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.
Read page 1
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.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
When Europeans first arrived in North America, Atlantic puffins were common on islands in the Gulf of Maine. But hunters killed many of the birds for food or for feathers to adorn ladies' hats. By the 1800s, the population in Maine had plummeted.
- Experts Recommend Halving Global Fishing for Crucial Prey Species ›
- US Court Upholds Ruling on Vast Marine Monument Established by ... ›
A "major" natural gas explosion killed two people and seriously injured at least seven in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning.
- Fatal Natural Gas Explosion Rocks Durham, NC - EcoWatch ›
- Gas Explosion Rips Through Maryland Office & Shopping Complex ... ›
Nearly 900 people across the U.S. and Canada have been sickened by salmonella linked to onions distributed by Thomson International, the The New York Times reported.
- Meat Producers Issue Massive Recalls after Salmonella, Listeria ... ›
- Salmonella Outbreaks Could Worsen with Decreased Poultry ... ›
- Major Salmonella Outbreak Exacerbated by Government Shutdown ... ›
In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.
- Permian Basin Methane Emissions Found to Be More Than 2x ... ›
- Oil and Gas Operations Release 60 Percent More Methane than ... ›
- 'Extraordinarily Harmful' Trump Rule Would Gut Restrictions on ... ›
- Exxon Now Wants to Write the Rules for Regulating Methane ... ›
By Alex Kirby
The temperature of the Arctic matters to the entire world: it helps to keep the global climate fairly cool. Scientists now say that by 2035 there could be an end to Arctic sea ice.
Melt Ponds Crucial<p>"The prospect of loss of sea ice by 2035 should really be focusing all our minds on achieving a low-carbon world as soon as humanly feasible."</p><p><a href="http://www.reading.ac.uk/search/search-staff-details.aspx?id=10813" target="_blank">Dr. David Schroeder from the University of Reading</a>, UK, who co-led the implementation of the melt pond scheme in the climate model, says, "This shows just how important sea ice processes like melt ponds are in the Arctic, and why it is crucial that they are incorporated into climate models."</p><p>The extent of the areas <a href="https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/seaice/characteristics/formation.html" target="_blank">sea ice</a> covers varies between summer and winter. If more solar energy is absorbed at the surface, and temperatures rise further, a cycle of warming and melting occurs during summer months.</p><p>When the ice forms, the ocean water beneath becomes saltier and denser than the surrounding ocean. Saltier water sinks and moves along the ocean bottom towards the equator, while warm water from mid-depths to the surface travels from the equator towards the poles.</p><p>Scientists refer to this process as the ocean's global "conveyor-belt." Changes to the volume of sea ice can disrupt normal ocean circulation, with consequences for global climate. </p>
- Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record ... ›
- Arctic Sea Ice Levels Hit Record Low After Unusually Warm January ... ›
- Why California Droughts Could Increase Due to Arctic Sea Ice Loss ... ›
Russia's Health Ministry has given regulatory approval for the world's first COVID-19 vaccine after less than two months of human testing, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Putin's Daughter Among Vaccinated<p>The Russian leader also said that one of his daughters has already been inoculated and is feeling well.</p><p>"One of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in the testing," Putin said.</p><p>After the first vaccine shot, his daughter experienced a slight fever, 38 degrees Celsius (100.4°F). Her temperature came down to just slightly above normal the next day. </p><p>"After the second shot, she had a slight fever again, and then everything was fine. She is feeling well and has a high antibody count," Putin said. </p><p>He didn't specify which of his two daughters, Maria or Katerina, received the vaccine.</p><p>Russian health authorities have said that medical workers, teachers and other risk groups will be the first to receive shots of the vaccine.</p>
Years of Work Reduced to Weeks<p>Russia is the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine. As <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/germany-coronavirus-vaccine-may-only-be-available-in-mid-2021/a-54362065" target="_blank">countries worldwide race to produce the first vaccine</a>, health experts warn that speed and national pride could compromise safety.</p><p>Scientists in Russia and abroad have questioned Moscow's decision to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials that normally last for months and involve thousands of people, but Putin emphasized that the vaccine underwent the necessary trials and that vaccination will be voluntary.</p><p>Russian officials have said that large-scale production of the vaccine will begin in September, and mass vaccination may start as early as October.</p><p>Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, has <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philippines-duterte-volunteers-to-be-putins-russian-coronavirus-vaccine-guinea-pig/a-54523030" target="_blank">lauded Russia's efforts in developing the vaccine</a> and said that the Philippines is ready to work with Moscow on vaccine trials, supply and production. Duterte volunteered to "be the first they can experiment on."</p><p>"I will tell President Putin that I have huge trust in your studies in combating COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity," Duterte said, adding that he thinks Russia's vaccine will be ready for the Philippines by December.</p>
- Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Enters Phase 2 and 3 Clinical Trials ... ›
- Trump Administration Buys up Nearly All the World's Supply of ... ›
- First Trial of Moderna's Coronavirus Vaccine Produces Immune ... ›
A powerful series of thunderstorms roared across the Midwest on Monday, downing trees, damaging structures and knocking out power to more than a million people.