21 Of The Best Songs About Nature And The Environment

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Ever wonder why a lot of people relax around nature? Because it has that calming and healing power. It can put your mind at ease and give you peace.

Some people think hiking in the woods is enough to get their spirits up. For others, it can be listening to the gentle waves as they crash against rocks.

If you need inspiration, you only need to look around you. Or you can also listen to 21 of the best songs about nature. Enjoy reading!

1. “What A Wonderful World” By Louis Armstrong

Born in 1901 and raised in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong knew firsthand the disastrous effects of climate change and global warming. Despite that, his song, “What a Wonderful World,” is a ballad that lauds the beauty of nature.

From “trees of green” to “clouds of white,” this is a song that mentions forms of nature. Here, Armstrong sings about the beauty of the world around him. However, it’s not just the nature he praises. He also brings attention to friendship and care among people.

The song is a testament to Armstrong’s love of nature and his native city, a Southern oasis home to great oaks and Spanish moss. The song also has a deeper meaning. Armstrong struggled most of his life with trauma and addiction, yet he maintained a cheerful, positive attitude through it all.

2. “Earth Song” By Michael Jackson

Since fronting the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson has produced thousands of beautiful songs. One of them is the 1995 masterpiece “Earth Song,” the very last song he performed live.

Here, the singer describes the harmful effects of climate change and global discontent. There’s terrorism, pollution, and environmental degradation. He brings attention to urgent issues such as war, the senseless killing of animals, and even poverty.

The song tells us that we all leave a mark on the world with our actions. We have the choice to leave a positive impact.

3. “Eyes Wide Open” By Gotye

One of the most talented musicians is Gotye, a multi-instrumental musician from Belgium. This Indie pop sensation is the genius behind “Eyes Wide Open.”

This song touches on the complex problem of environmental degradation stemming from overconsumption. Humans are depleting natural resources, leaving in their wake a world that’s slowly being destroyed.

Unfortunately, “only a few ever worried” despite us being complicit in a system we seek to escape. But the saddest thing is, no one wants to turn around and change and save Earth before it’s too late.

4. “(Nothing But) Flowers” By Talking Heads

Can you imagine a world overrun by nature? That would be a sight to behold. Let’s see what else the rock band Talking Heads has to say about it in “(Nothing but) Flowers.”

The song describes the opposite of what is happening in the world today: nature overtaking modern technology. The singer finds himself wondering where the cars have all gone because all that’s left are flowers.

Though the singer appreciates the flowers and all that represent nature, he struggles to address his basic needs, including finding food and mowing the wildflowers from his lawn.

5. “Where Do The Children Play?” By Cat Stevens

British folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Cat Stevens presents a difficult question in “Where Do the Children Play?”

In this beautiful song, Stevens admits that we have come a long way in terms of technological advancements. We’ve built “jumbo planes” and “scrapers fill the air,” signs of development.

However, he calls for a more balanced world where people have respect for nature. We understand that we are moving forward faster than we could imagine. But in the process, we destroyed nature. Children no longer have green spaces where they can play.

6. “Big Yellow Taxi” By Joni Mitchell

You may have heard “Big Yellow Taxi” sung by the rock band Counting Crows. But the song was an original by Joni Mitchell, who released it in 1970.

The song is known for its famous lyrics, in which Mitchell recounts the transformation of downtown Honolulu into a tourist trap. She notices how “they paved paradise, put up a parking lot.” And we know what it entails when an area is cemented to be converted into a parking lot.

Mitchell wrote this song on her first trip to Hawaii. She looked out of her hotel window and saw green mountains far away. But the sight was ruined by the parking lot that stretched before her.

7. “Feels Like Summer” By Childish Gambino

Singer-songwriter Childish Gambino brings the focus to climate change in the 2018 song “Feels Like Summer.”

At first, the song might seem to laud the arrival of summer as everyone “feels like summer.” But in the middle of the song, you’ll realize that it’s almost a lament at what is going on in our environment.

The song touches on the urgency of climate change as the “day gets hotter than the one before.” Worse, people are running out of water. The singer hopes that people would change and save the environment.

8. “This Land Is Your Land” By Woodie Guthrie

A famous folk song comes next on our list. “This Land is Your Land” was written by folk singer Woodie Guthrie and released in 1945.

This song has inspired millions to fight for the environmental integrity of this country. The song’s lyrics touch on the beauty of the American landscape, including “that golden valley” and “the sparkling sands.”

The song encourages citizens to protect the environment because we are its caretakers. We must be united in seeing to it that the land is sustainable for all generations to come.

9. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” By Marvin Gaye

Up next is “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye. The song reflects the singer’s concern for environmental issues.

Truly, “things ain’t what they used to be.” In heavily polluted cities, you can no longer see blue skies. The line “Poison is the wind that blows” owes to the fact that factories and car emissions cause air pollution.

The ecological struggles, as demonstrated in the song, can’t be emphasized enough. Oil spills on oceans, radiation everywhere, animals dying… With all these and more, it’s a worry how much the Earth can stand to take.

Related: Next, check out our best songs about animals article here.

10. “Trouble In The Water” By Common Ft. Laci Kay, Aaron Fresh, And Choklate

Climate change is one of the pressing matters at the moment. Music, as it turns out, is one effective way of bringing the matter to public attention. And so musicians and singers have sung about it, including Common and company with “Trouble in the Water.”

The song is simply about environmental degradation and water pollution in particular. We know that water is life, but man has done a lot of things that turned it “lethal.” The oceans are contaminated with oil spills and garbage. And so we end up paying “four bucks for two liters.”

The issues surrounding climate change need to be addressed because its effects are now felt all over the world.

11. “Green River” By Credence Clearwater Revival

The rock band Credence Clearwater Revival released “Green River” in 1969, appearing on an album of the same name. The song is about the fictionally named Green River, which actually refers to Putah Creek, a beautiful river in California.

The song also touches on the magic of youth and children’s natural connection to the environment. Using the river, the singer recalls poignant memories of childhood that include skipping a rock across Green River.

It’s the place he longs to go back to, wondering whether it remains the way it was. He remembers the coolness of the water, the bullfrogs, and the dragonflies. That place will always be home to him.

12. “Lost In The Wild” By Walk The Moon

Next on our list is a number from Walk the Moon, a pop-rock band from Ohio. Their song “Lost in the Wild” is an EDM ballad that uses physical imagery of nature metaphorically.

At its core, “Lost in the Wild” is about letting go of all your worries. The singer finds a potential love interest gone in the morning after spending the night with her. He sees them as animals, and he is apologetic if they started “a forest fire.”

The singer resolves to find her, to find out if she still wants to be with him. He cautions her, “Don’t look over your shoulder” because what has happened cannot be undone.

13. “Don’t Go Near The Water” By The Beach Boys

For a band that popularized songs about the beach and surfing, it’s unusual that The Beach Boys released a song titled “Don’t Go Near the Water.” The song was part of their 1971 album Surf’s Up.

The reason why the singer warns against going to the water is environmental. He says that the water is dirty, which could mean pollution or contamination.

Despite the short lyrics, the song tells us that the oceans and rivers have been negatively impacted by mankind and how that carries over to life on land.

14. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” By Peter, Paul, And Mary

Although “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” was originally written by Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, and Mary‘s cover remains the most popular. The song spent seven weeks in the #1 position on the Billboard charts.

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone” is a political song calling for peace. In particular, it’s a protest against the Vietnam War. In the lyrics, the singer wonders where the flowers are. It turns out that the young women have picked them.

And when asked where the young women have gone, they have married. And then their husbands have gone to become soldiers. They died in the war and were buried in graveyards adorned with flowers. It’s a never-ending cycle, prompting the singers to say, “Oh, when will they ever learn?”

15. “Time Is Ticking Out” By The Cranberries

The famous Irish band The Cranberries released their album Wake Up and Smell the Coffee in 2001. One of the songs that stood out was “Time is Ticking Out.”

The band’s vocalist, Dolores O’Riordan, witnessed the children of Chernobyl born with illnesses following the nuclear accident. She co-wrote the song to mourn the impact of the accident and remind people to take action.

She calls for people to think about their actions and the consequences of such. She brings attention to the effects that radiation, deprivation, and gluttony have, especially on children.

16. “S.O.S. (Mother Nature)” by will. i.am

In our next song with “nature” in the title, the rapper will.i.am is calling on powerful beings for help and to save us from ourselves. “S.O.S. (Mother Nature)” appeared on his 2007 album Songs About Girls.

“S.O.S” points out the effects of global warming and climate change and their impact on Earth. But the singer also highlights one embarrassing fact: humans are the perpetrators. We are selfish to inflict harm on the environment in the name of money.

But “people don’t see the sign” even as “Mother Nature signals” in the form of weather changes. Our situation is getting worse, and the singer finds it crucial to call on the Lord, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and Jehovah to save us.

17. “Earth” By Lil Dicky

Rapper Lil Dicky put his being a comedian to good use with his 2019 song “Earth.” Through the funny lyrics, he is able to impart his message of loving our planet Earth.

The song discusses diversity by introducing different animals and some of their characters, such as baboons and lions. Despite being different, we all live on the same planet, and we should love and protect it.

“Earth” also aims to help spread awareness about global warming and climate change. Lil Dicky donated the proceeds of this song to various charitable organizations dedicated to improving environmental outcomes.

18. “Mother Nature’s Son” By The Beatles

Up next, we have a song with “nature” in the lyrics from The Beatles. “Mother Nature’s Son,” though one of their lesser-known songs, is among their best.

The song was released in 1968 and consisted of only a few lines. But those are enough to discuss the experiences of a “poor young country boy” enjoying his rural surroundings.

Paul McCartney, who primarily wrote the song, drew on his own childhood explorations. He considers himself Mother Nature’s son as he “sits beside a mountain stream” singing a song.

19. “Pass It Down” By Alabama

Country music group Alabama highlights some very important environmental issues in “Pass It Down.” Released in 1990, the song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.

At its core, “Pass It Down” is about environmental degradation. Here, the singer laments the contaminated water in the sink and the harmful substances in the air that deplete the health of people and animals.

He implores that we protect our environment by making sure to “leave some blue up above us” and “leave some green on the ground.” All that’s around us are “borrowed,” and so we must leave some for future generations.

20. “The River Sings” By Enya

Born Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, Enya is an Irish singer-songwriter best known for her consistent treatment of topics related to philosophy and nature. You can see that at work in her 2005 song “The River Sings.”

Although the lyrics are in the Loxian language, they are rich with meaning for all. According to Enya’s website, the song is about people who “send their words out into the night.”

The singer encourages her listeners to enjoy nature in solitude to reap its many benefits. The mountains and the moon accompany us in our journey to discover whether we are alone in the universe.

21. “All The Good Girls Go To Hell” By Billie Eilish

Many nature songs have been written in the past. But many modern artists are tackling this critical topic. Including pop hit sensation Billie Eilish with her 2019 song “All the Good Girls Go to Hell.”

The song touches on the trauma of late-stage capitalism and the issue of global climate change. Throughout the song, the singer shows the point of view of both God and the Devil in light of what humans do to destroy Earth.

The singer also laments our collective inability to solve environmental issues. She seems to lose hope in humanity as “there’s nothing left to save now.”

Summing Up Our List Of Nature Songs

Despite how somber or depressing some songs are, one thing is uplifting. That the songwriters are very much aware of the challenges that plague nature, and they want to inform the public.

Truly, we can’t enjoy nature if it’s being destroyed. How can we enjoy our time on Earth if mountains are going bald? If grasslands are converted to cemented establishments?

We hope that through the list above, you have renewed a new appreciation for nature. That we act even in small ways to combat climate change and global warming for our future generations.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.