Sustainability in songs

Photo by on Pixabay

The Save&Game project seeks to raise young people’s awareness of sustainability, while also spurring them on to more responsible and sustainable behaviour. The use of Gamification is one methodology that helps in this journey, but there is also another very engaging way to tackle this challenge: listening to songs!

In fact, many famous artists have expressed their concern about the problems of the earth and the environment, and it is possible to listen to very beautiful songs that surprise us with their strong message. Let’s discover some of them together!

  • 4 Minutes” is a song by US singers Madonna and Justin Timberlake. It is about urgency and making the most of your time. The lyrics emphasise that time is running out and that we only have four minutes left to save the world. The repetition of the sentence ‘I’m outta time, and all I got is four minutes’ creates a sense of urgency and pressure to act fast. The song inspired the documentary I Am Because We Are (2008).

  • The song ‘Excuse Me Mister’ by Ben Harper is a socio-political commentary criticising individuals who prioritise their own interests and do not address pressing societal issues. The lyrics address someone called ‘Mister’, who seems to be self-centred and apathetic towards the problems around him. Harper highlights the environmental problems caused by this ‘Mister’, such as oil in the sea and air pollution, and reminds each of us that we must always look at the consequences of our actions.

  • In “Mal di Terra”, Giorgia denounces that ‘Money, Power, Plastic, Noise’ are destroying a perfect world where nothing was missing to be happy—a planet where the sea was once clean and which today begs for mercy from humans who are increasingly indifferent. With our ‘icy gaze’ and ‘sterile heart’, ‘we are caught up in consuming everything of value’. With these harsh words, Giorgia sings of a reality in which vital resources are regularly squandered without measure, resources that will no longer be enough to sustain those who will come after us. Our children, who will pay the price for our actions in a world ‘full of our havoc’.

  • With a grand piano on a floating platform, on 17 June 2016 against the backdrop of the Wahlenbergbreen glacier (in Svalbard, Norway), Ludovico Einaudi performed an original piece entitled ‘Elegy for the Arctic‘. The piece is melancholic and the impressive video touches on man’s deep and fragile relationship with nature. Ludovico Einaudi gives voice to the more than eight million people calling for protecting the Arctic with his music in a fight against time.

  • Written by the American singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, and contained in his 2006 album ‘Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George’, the song has all the rhythm of a children’s nursery rhyme. It embraces the three simple rules to which the three R’s of the title refer: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. In its simplicity, it encapsulates a message of great importance for the well-being of our environment.

Music has always been a perfect tool to dialogue with youngsters. Let it also guide us towards improved behaviours.

On the Save and Game website project, you can also find references to other cultural works (books and movies) that will allow you to address the topics of climate change and sustainability through art, and thus motivate young people to dream and believe in a better world.

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