The musicians helping to make climate change a cultural movement

Shauna Power

Pop stars such as Lil Dicky are using their music and huge followings to raise awareness of climate change. This social media and music driven activism shows that a boiling point has been reached in pop culture.

It’s been 35 years since Band Aid, when a group of the worlds most famous decisions recorded a charity single to raise money and awareness for one of the most pressing issues of their time, the famine in Ethiopia. Since then numerous artists have recorded songs to raise money and awareness for global issues, Climate change is no different.

In 2019 there’s arguably no bigger global issue than climate change. Numerous documentaries compete for attention with celebrity packed climate change songs like “Earth” by Lil Dicky which has amassed over 200 million views within six months. It is safe to safe Climate Change is a Hot Topic.

Lil Dicky released “Earth” including cameos from chart topping artists such as Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber with profits from the song, video and merchandise going to charities who work on implementing solutions to climate change. At first the song seems like a modern remake of Band Aid but it raises awareness about one of the most pressing issues ever to face the planet.

The rapper has previously admitted to being uninformed about social and political issues but climate change has made him feel like he should’ve paid attention earlier. Adding to the growing accountability from artists themselves, Matty Healy lead singer from the 1975, recently gave his undying support to Greta Thunberg.

Healy told NME, “I’d much rather be called a hypocrite or champagne socialist than be an artist that isn’t talking about the most pressing issue on the planet”.

More people are searching climate change and this shift in public attention comes at the same time as global demonstrations, such as Extinction Rebellion, with the charge being led by climate campaigner Greta Thunberg.

Green political parties are also becoming more significant in the European Parliament highlighting that in a 24/7 media world, music has made a difference.

Climate change hasn’t always been a hot topic for music or conversation but there has been a change in the way artists and the world are viewing climate change. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is now one of the prominent figures speaking out against climate change, hoping to get his followers involved in activism and bringing social change.

There are a growing number of festivals and life music events banning single use plastics and using compost toilets instead of portaloos, such as Oslo’s Øya Festival which is making the steps to become the first festival powered entirely by renewable energy sources.

In Ireland, Rubberbandits star Blindboy Boatclub appeared on the Late Late show and said Ireland’s “Cultural footprint” can provide a springboard for climate action around the world.

Expanding on the idea he said “We were the first to do the smoking ban and that was copied all around the world, we were the first to have the plastic bag tax and that was copied. St. Patricks Day or Halloween, these are Irish holidays celebrated around the world- let’s make St.Patricks Day about the environment.”

Making Climate Change a trending topic through social media and music is only the beginning of the effort that is needed to bring about change.

Shauna Power 

Image Credit: WikiMedia