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Songs for the Environment

Asha Edmund is an award winning Singaporean singer and composer, steadily making a name in the international dance music scene.  She shares with us six songs with an environmental theme that have touched her.

SONGS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

By Asha Edmund

Asha Edmund

Combing the internet for environmental songs showed me just how many artists feel the same way as I do. Any effort we make has a ripple effect and does not fall on deaf ears. As the message travels through time and changes hands, it leaves me wondering how many more songs it will take for order to be restored. Each song is a voice and is necessary; the more voices we hear, the closer we get to hearing one call.

Since last year, I have abstained from writing about failed relationships and focused on issues that truly matter, hoping to take my contribution to an awakening planet, to the dance club. My single ‘Oblivion‘ is my first attempt at deepening the gambolling.  To me, a club is the best place to relay the news as walls come down and minds are open to listening to the stories. These videos prove that so many of us are trying to set it right and I am thrilled to be in good company.

1. BIG YELLOW TAXI – JONI MITCHELL

What will 2050 look like? Peering out of a hotel window in Hawaii only to have a giant carpark consume her vision forty years ago, may have made Joni Mitchell ask the same question about 2010.

Lyrics to Big Yellow Taxi:
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’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

They took all the trees and put ‘em in a tree museum
And then they charged all the people twenty-five bucks just to see ‘em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT now
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees, please
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Late last night I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi carried off my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

2. FLAMES NOT FLOWERS- STUDENTS FOR BHOPAL

On December 2nd 1984, the world experienced the worst industrial disaster at a Dow/Union pesticide plant in Bhopal, India. This video lends a voice to the many who remain victims of the disheartening negligence.

3. DRAGONFLY – ZIGGY MARLEY

Having to protect Methuselah, an ancient tree rooted in California from possible vandals says a lot about the type of creature Man is. I wonder what he would have to say about our behaviour, having witnessed it for nearly 5000 years.  Here’s Ziggy Marley, the Jamaican reggae musician:


Lyrics to Dragonfly :
Everybody’s worried about time
But I just keep that shit off my mind
People living on twenty four hour clocks
But we’re on a ride that never stops

Hey mister bee the world change but you remain the same
And I wonder how you’ll survive with the environment going down the drain
Hey miss dragonfly I see you look at me with your beautiful eyes
You must be wondering what type of creature am I

A dog looked at me and said Ziggy why can’t we trust man
Puss and me get together why can’t you all just understand
An old tree stood there silently listening to every word we said
As a tear fell he cried what type of creature is man

I said hey mister tree the world change but you remain the same
And I wonder how you survive with the environment going down the drain
Hey miss butterfly I see you look at me with your beautiful eyes
You must be wondering what kind of creature am I
You must be wondering what kind of creature am I

Everybody’s worried about time
But i just keep that shit off my mind
People living on twenty four hour clocks
But we’re on a ride yes we’re on a ride we’re on a ride that never stops

Hey mister bee the world change but you remain the same
And I hope you’ll survive with the environment going down the drain
Hey miss butterfly i see you look at me with your beautiful eyes
You must be wondering what type of creature am I
You must be wondering what type of creature is man

4. THE SONG OF THE EARTH SPINNING – DEAN OMORI

An award winning song writer and short film maker, Omori utters words of angst about the state of the world against a contrasting backdrop of  music.

In conversation with a Swiss Astro particle physicist he said that in our galaxy alone there are approximately 200 million stars. The universe is, in his humble estimation a collection of several hundred billion galaxies both high and wide. The idea that we are alone is little more than the furthest reach of human arrogance.

Do you hear it?
We have evolved too fast; our purpose cannot keep up with our greed. Our devastation, our non-compliance to nature, our failure to be what we represent. We cannot find our own evolution; we are defined only by history. And we will be remembered in tears.

Do you hear it?
When our children die in a war it’s a tragedy, when their children die in a war it’s a victory. Violence is a human characteristic. The pro-lifers are killing the abortionists.
Tell me is the earth unpopular. Chinese whispers of love.

At the end of another street the corporate supermarket puts out of business the local butcher, baker and greengrocer. Its inferior products are cheap and flown in from exploited under developed countries leaving behind a massive carbon footprint and an imbalance in the ecology of life. Its customers say it’s so convenient.

There are too many people poor and in need. Can you hear it?

Mankind’s greatest marketing achievement is convincing us that it’s all right, we’re in safe hands. That life will be sustained. We are the masters of our destiny. Money is our number one objective and the sole heir to our moment of dominance. Money succeeds us as the number one priority over life.

In another corner of the world, lawyers sue governments on behalf of clients who have tripped over a tree root lifting the pavement. In response to the many lawsuits the local government has cut down all the trees on an leafy boulevard a meter above the ground. Lawyers.

Do you hear it?
As a race we are unable to accept change as a rational concept. Extinction waits for those without the ability to adapt. For the smallest moment in time extinction happens only to other animals.
Society is becoming more and more suspicious of those of us who value silence.

I am not a great man because Beethoven wrote his ninth symphony, or because of Shakespeare or Da Vinci, or Einstein. We are not them. Although we wear the same skin.
Statistics delivers us fact from fiction.
Life is constructed of miscellaneous things, I grant you my presumption.

In an AIDS clinic the businessman said he was foolish to have unprotected sex with a Nigerian prostitute. He hoped his wife didn’t find out the hard way.
We dwell in the womb of our mothers when the world can no longer be bared.
Love, enables you to experience loss in detail.

We spent the day together; it was to be the last day before we were to become parents. We let out all our lifeboats. Her eyes were loaded

This is the sound of the Earth spinning.

5. EARTH SONG – MICHAEL JACKSON

Though Michael Jackson had been writting socially conscious songs, this was his first overtly environment oriented number. It received a Grammy nomination in 1997.

If ever we doubt unconditional love and generosity, look to Mother Earth. She is the supreme teacher of both. She feeds, nourishes, heals and clothes us without expecting anything in return. Yet, as the King put it, “look what we have done”.  Mother Earth’s stalwart advocate of peace and love, poses questions that check all sides. As much as he gave a damn, “do we give a damn”?

Lyrics to Earth Song
What about sunrise?
What about rain?
What about all the things
That you said we were to gain?
What about killing fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the things
That you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shed before?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, its weeping shores?

What have we done to the world?

Look what we’ve done!
What about all the peace
That you pledged your only son?
What about flowering fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, its weeping shores?

I used to dream…

I used to glance beyond the stars…
Now I don’t know where we are,
Although I know we’ve drifted far…

Hey, what about yesterday?(What about us)

What about the seas?(What about us)
The heavens are falling down…(What about us)
I can’t even breathe! (What about us)
What about apathy? (What about us)
Can’t we feel its wounds? (What about us)
What about nature’s worth?(Ooo, ooo)
It’s our planet’s womb! (What about us)
What about animals? (What about it)
We’ve turned their kingdoms to dust…(What about us)
What about elephants? (What about us)
Have we lost their trust? (What about us)
What about crying whales? (What about us)
We’re ravaging the seas…(What about us)
What about forest trails? (Ooo, ooo)
Burnt despite our pleas… (What about us)
What about the holy land? (What about us)
Torn apart by creed… (What about us)
What about the common man? (What about us)
Can’t we set them free? (What about us)
What about children dying? (What about us)
Can’t you hear them cry? (What about us)
Where did we go wrong? (Ooo, ooo)
Someone tell me why! (What about us)
What about baby boys? (What about it)
What about the days? (What about us)
What about all their joy? (What about us)
What about the man? (What about us)
What about the crying man? (What about us)
What about Abraham? (What about us)
What about death again? (Ooo, ooo)
Do we give a damn?

6. CALYPSO – JOHN DENVER

A tribute  to the legendary underwater explorer and activist, Jacques Cousteau by the famous country musician, John Denver

To sail on a dream, on a crystal clear ocean,
To ride on the crest of a wild raging storm;
To work in the service of life and the living
In search of the answers to questions unknown;
To be part of the movement and part of the growing,
Part of beginning to understand . . .

Aye, Calypso, the places you’ve been to,
The things that you’ve shown us,
The stories you tell;
Aye, Calypso, I sing to your spirit,
The men who have served you
So long and so well.

Like the dolphin who guides you,
You bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way;
For, though we are strangers in your silent world,
To live on the land we must learn from the sea;
To be true as the tide and free as the wind-swell,
Joyful and loving in letting it be . . .

Aye, Calypso, the places you’ve been to,
The things that you’ve shown us,
The stories you tell;
Aye, Calypso, I sing to your spirit,
The men who have served you
So long and so well.

ABOUT OUR GUEST WRITER:

With a Radio Music Award (DJ’s CHOICE – ‘Best Local Act’), Compass Award (‘Top Local Pop Song’ for her song, ‘Dorian Bay’), recording contract with CreAsian Records and multiple radio hits under her belt, Asha Edmund was recognised as one of Singapore’s Top Ten Talents in the Arts Magazine.  Asha’s third single is slated for release in December this year. Her fourth album will see her taking her experiences and observations as a vegan and humanitarian straight to the clubs. – “Believe it or not, the best place to move people is on the dancefloor”. Her songs are available for purchase here.  She may be contacted through her MySpace or YouTube pages.

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Posted by on Sep 25 2010. Filed under Activism, Behaviour Change, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

7 Comments for “Songs for the Environment”

  1. [...] and everything – under a Pipala Tree: From Marcus Goh’s production notes – EcoWalktheTalk: Songs for the Environment [Thanks [...]

  2. [...] in the Arts – under a Pipala Tree: From Marcus Goh’s production notes – EcoWalktheTalk: Songs for the Environment [Thanks Bhavani] – Base Leg Aviation News and Photography: RSAF Apache crash landing [Thanks [...]

  3. Thanks for the link. It is a beautiful song!

  4. I’m glad you liked it, because I know the singer. I will tell her and I know she’ll be happy. :)

  5. Where did you find that Flames not Flowers song? Good one! We should compose a list of 100 songs. Here’s my list: http://econowblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/six-great-environmental-protest-songs.html

  6. Thanks for sharing your list, Daniel!

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