Songs About Pollution, 50 Years Later

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Most songs about political issues aren’t very good songs. But check out these tunes written in the 60s and 70s, when folk and rock musicians en masse protested against air and water pollution – they’re really good!

Nobody knew about climate change then, so these songs seem almost naive and blissfully innocent. But like the war on war on coal songs I wrote about last week, they’re also haunting… how can fifty years have gone by without anybody listening?


Pollution (Tom Lehrer, 1965)


Fresh Garbage (Spirit, 1968)


Slower Than Guns (Iron Butterfly, 1970)


Mercy Mercy Me / The Ecology (Marvin Gaye 1971)

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Don’t Go Near The Water (Beach Boys, 1971)

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Death of Mother Nature Suite (Kansas, 1974)

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What Have They Done to The Rain (Malvina Reynolds, 1962)


My Dirty Stream (Pete Seeger, 1966)

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There Won’t Be No Country Music (C.W. McCall, 1976)


Hungry Planet (The Byrds, 1970)


Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell, 1970)

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