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A Brief, Creative Look at Earth Day

The Antarctic land and ocean ice sheets are melting and California is experiencing its deepest drought in history. These are just some of the troubling changes we see in our climate lately. Thankfully, world governments and world citizens are taking halting but positive steps to correct the longstanding policies that led to this era of climate change. It seems like a good time to write about fostering our connection with the natural world, and one wonderful way to do this is through the arts. So to celebrate Earth Week, here is a short list of some of my favorite nature music.

The ethereal and mystical sounds of the Incredible String Band are at the forefront of my nature-oriented inspirations. With lyrics both adult and childlike, the nature imagery in songs like “Ducks on a Pond” creates the setting for their lovely acoustic wanderings. 

Blackbird. Digital ID: 113565

Another recording that I enjoy is the famous Seeger family's Animal Folk Songs for Children,  but despite the title, I am proof that adults can thoroughly enjoy this cd! Ruth Crawford Seeger was Pete Seeger's stepmother and an acclaimed musician and composer in her own right. This CD is a wonderful compilation of Ruth's arrangements of traditional folk songs.

What nature music list would be complete without the songs of the man himself, Pete Seeger, the legendary folksinger, social justice activist and founder of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater? Here is “To My Old Brown Earth.”

As a very young child in the early 1970s, I was entranced by an album that consisted mostly of wolf calls. My brother and I loved to take this record out of the library. And behold, it is still in the library’s collection as a reference item! The Language and Music of the Wolves.

Of course there are many wonderful “warning” or “lament” songs, about what humans are doing to the environment. Besides several famous and obvious choices, other notable environmental laments include Captain Beefheart’s “Smithsonian Institute Blues,” and the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Go Near the Water” from their “Surf's Up” album.

There are of course, many other pieces of creativity which I couldn’t include for this brief listing.  So on a poetic end note, while you are birdwatching outside on your Earth Day hike, remember, Wallace Stevens reminds us that there are “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Happy Earth Day!

animal folk songs for children



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