Exploring the natural world can inspire all kinds of creative expression about the world we live in, and music is no exception.
Appreciation for nature has resulted in countless rock and pop songs that celebrate its beauty and lament its destruction at the hands of industry.
If you’re looking for the best songs about nature and the environment, read on, as we’ve got you covered.
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The 23 Best Songs About Nature & The Environment
Nature is a subject that has been explored by all kinds of singers and musicians over the years, from a broad range of genres and styles.
We’ve selected the best music about nature to reflect this eclectic approach, covering everything from classic rock hits to chart-topping pop songs.
Let’s dive into our list of the 23 best songs about nature and the environment:
23. “Circle Of Life” – Carmen Twillie & Lebo M.
Disney’s run of successful traditional animated movies during the 1990s culminated in The Lion King, which featured the song “Circle Of Life.”
Elton John’s vocals explore all facets of life, from birth to death and everything in between.
A massive hit due to the movie’s popularity, the song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.
22. “Pollution” – Tom Lehrer
Tom Lehrer is a talented singer-songwriter known for bringing a sense of humor to his music, although he turned his attention to a serious subject with “Pollution.”
His lyrics lament the additives in our food and other products, saying, “rinse your mouth with industrial waste.”
Lehrer was one of the pre-eminent musical satirists of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as a mathematics lecturer.
21. “Willow” – Jasmine Thompson
Jasmine Thompson takes the simple image of a willow tree with names carved into it as the foundation for her song about nature.
It’s a gorgeous love song that pictures the passing of the seasons and how we should be prepared for all weather, just like the titular willow tree.
Thompson’s vocal range has been used on one of the best songs to wake up to, “Ain’t Nobody” by Felix Jaehn.
20. “Green Garden” – Laura Mvula
Another exceptional singer-songwriter with a distinctive voice is Laura Mvula, responsible for one of the most iconic songs about nature.
“Green Garden” is a pop song with neo-soul grooves that is all about appreciating the beauty of nature in all its glory.
The classically trained performer has worked with gospel groups and choirs to develop her distinctive vocal style.
19. “Out In The Country” – Three Dog Night
Escaping the hustle and noise of city life is the topic of “Out in the Country” by the rock group Three Dog Night.
The lyrics describe the peace found in the country: “I stand alone and take back somethin’ worth rememberin’.”
It was released on the group’s 1970 album It Ain’t Easy, as well as a single that reached number 11 on the Easy Listening charts.
18. “Don’t Go Near The Water” – The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are no strangers to celebrating the great outdoors, with a particular passion for the beaches and oceans of the world.
“Don’t Go Near The Water” is a clarion call warning about the pollution of the sea and how it negatively affects life on land.
The band’s prolific output includes one of the greatest songs about change, “Break Away,” encouraging people to take charge of their lives.
17. “Sunshine On My Shoulders” – John Denver
John Denver wrote “Sunshine on my Shoulders” on a rainy day in springtime 1971, bringing a note of irony to the proceedings.
It represents his yearning for a ray of sunlight to dry and warm him up and work on another level to express the desire for romance.
The song proved to be another chart hit for Denver, making it to the number-one spot in both the United States and Canada.
16. “Seminole Wind” – John Anderson
John Anderson released “Seminole Wind” in 1992, a country song that explores the relationship between a group of Native Americans and mother earth.
A native of Florida, Anderson drew upon his experiences working with people to help preserve aspects of the natural world.
The song calls attention to the rainforest’s destruction and the forcible transfer of people due to flood management.
15. “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” – Peter, Paul and Mary
Peter, Paul and Mary used their song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” as a rallying cry for peace.
They draw upon powerful imagery of people intertwined with nature to achieve this and the poignant image of flowers growing around gravesides.
Released when the United States was at war in Vietnam, it’s a powerful song designed to inspire future generations toward peace.
14. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” – Marvin Gaye
One of the most loved singer-songwriters of his generation, Marvin Gaye’s music has included some of the best karaoke songs and this great song about nature.
“Mercy Mercy Me,” released in 1971, shares similar themes from songs of the era about pollution, radiation, and man’s destruction of nature.
It’s a beautiful song about bringing mother nature back from the brink of destruction and restoring it.
13. “Pass It On Down” – Alabama
Acid rain and climate change are the subjects of Alabama’s song “Pass It On Down,” which the country singer released in 1990.
The lyrics call to God, stating, “And Lord, I believe from the heavens to the seas we’re bringing Mother Nature to her knees.”
It’s a bittersweet lament about the consequences of man’s behavior on the natural environment.
12. “Make A Little Wave” – Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas
One of the more upbeat and energetic songs about nature comes from Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas, produced in 2009 for Disney.
The song praises the power of social activism and how this can work to help preserve the natural world and diverse wildlife.
With Lovato’s popularity among young girls, it was hoped to propel a conscientious message to the next generation.
11. “Don’t Drink The Water” – Dave Matthews Band
Nature songs aren’t always about the environment or wildlife, as seen in “Don’t Drink the Water” by the Dave Matthews Band.
This song from 2018 is another ode to the natives in America who faced off against European colonialists and was a response to a water supply crisis.
An environmental song and anthem for the times, it was released as part of the band’s studio album, Come Tomorrow.
10. “Natural Beauty” – Neil Young
Neil Young’s ode to the natural world, “Natural Beauty,” is another beautiful song about the importance of preserving nature.
The lyrics reference the Amazon rainforests and the deforestation that threatens thousands of plants and animals.
He’s also written some of the most popular songs everyone knows, with a career spanning decades and dozens of releases.
9. “Eyes Wide Open” – Gotye
With Gotye’s “Eyes Wide Open,” a doomed post-apocalyptic world brought about by global warming is the approach taken in this song about nature.
This imagery is used as an analogy for Gotye’s observations of the broken relationships he’s seen throughout his life.
It was written by Wally De Backer, produced by Gotye and Kris Schroeder, and released on the 2011 album Making Mirrors.
8. “Fishin’ In The Dark” – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
A fishing expedition is a great way to escape from work and reconnect with nature, as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band clearly appreciates.
“Fishing in the Dark” is a melody-driven song that bounces along breezily, enjoying “Where the cool grass grows down by the river.”
It’s a song full of warmth and positivity that uses water and other natural phenomena to evoke being at one with nature.
7. “Earth” – Lil Dicky
Lil Dicky worked with a long list of popular artists to deliver his song “Earth,” urging people to fix the climate.
It was released in 2019 and timed with Earth Day, and it serves as a rallying cry for global action to take care of the world.
Arianna Grande, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry were among the high-profile celebrities involved in this musical project.
6. “Mother Nature’s Son” – The Beatles
Responsible for many of the best songs of all time, the Beatles are no stranger to songs about nature, including “Mother Nature’s Son.”
Written by Paul McCartney, the lyrics drew inspiration from his time spent performing transcendental meditation at a camp.
Childhood memories of bike rides in nearby woodlands also helped him to shape the vocals and guitar riffs used in this song.
5. “(Nothing But) Flowers” – Talking Heads
While most post-apocalyptic visions revolve around the absence of nature, Talking Heads flipped the concept on its head with “(Nothing But) Flowers.”
As the title implies, the song is about the end of the modern world as we know it and nature reclaiming the land for itself.
It’s delivered with Talking Heads’ trademark sense of humor and features backing vocals by Kirsty McColl.
4. “Truth To Power” – OneRepublic
Released in 2017, “Truth to Power” by OneRepublic takes a familiar approach to nature with its adoption of Mother Nature’s point of view.
It’s another song that sits squarely in the climate change camp and nature’s ability to empower people to be the best they can be.
OneRepublic released the song as part of the soundtrack of Before The Flood, a documentary produced by National Geographic.
3. “Earth Song” – Michael Jackson
One of the most celebrated singers of all time, Michael Jackson’s career saw him win 13 Grammy Awards along with 38 nominations.
“Earth Song” represented another colossal hit for Jackson, as he took aim at how people treated the planet and implored them to do better.
It’s a more downbeat entry to his discography and the final song he performed before passing away in 2009.
2. “Feels Like Summer” – Childish Gambino
Summertime is one of the most popular times of the year when nature exists in full bloom and temperatures soar.
Childish Gambino looks at the flip side of the season in “Feels Like Summer,” singing about water shortages and decreased bird populations.
It’s a slow jam of a song that works well for chilling out, belying the more serious message beneath the lyrics.
1. “What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong worked hard to bring his fans together, writing one of the best songs about unity and the classic “What A Wonderful World.”
It’s a raw, beautiful celebration of the world we live in from a master songwriter who clearly has a deep sense of admiration for the beauty in the world.
A widely recognized classic today, the song failed to rank in the United States on its release but reached number one in the United Kingdom.
That wraps up this playlist of the greatest songs about nature and the environment you can listen to today, exploring the natural world in all its glory.
Nature is a topic singers and musicians have explored for decades, reflecting the changing attitudes to environmentalism over the years.
With climate change remaining a newsworthy subject, we can expect to hear many more songs about nature from talented singers.
What songs have inspired you to spend more time in nature? Leave a comment below.
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