Citi Zeni’s entry for Latvia, “Eat Your Salad”, is better known for its memeable opening line and its innuendo scattered throughout. Underneath its light-hearted tone, however, it tells about the importance of developing environmentally-friendly habits, such as with taking a bicycle to work or eating less meat.
Eurovision tackles a bunch of topics, of which the environment is one of the rarer ones. Katja Ebstein’s second song for Germany Diese Welt, was the first to deal with the topic, telling how beautiful the world could be and how pollution is impacting the air and the sea. It came in third in 1971, matching her result from the previous year.
Over the following decades, we’d see more songs, some which hit harder than others. Here are some songs from past and present which hopefully, will make you think about our planet and what to do with it.
Karoline Krüger — For vår jord (Norway 1988)
“Hun er en av de som våker ved flammen (For vår jord)
En av de som holder grenene sammen (For vår jord)
Hun ser at jorden er vår mor
Stå vakt for vår jord“
“She is among those guarding the flame (For our earth)
One of those keeping the branches together (For our earth)
She sees that the earth is our mother
Stand guard for our earth“
Co-written by Anita Skorgan, who herself participated in eurovision multiple times, Karoline’s song talks about a woman who tries to advocate for the earth, but is ignored by most people. Despite the peaceful piano melody, it hints at the dangers up ahead, and reflects upon how the woman is alone in her awareness.
Alyosha – Sweet People (Ukraine 2010)
“Yes, the message is so real
Don’t turn all the earth to stone
Because, because, because
This is your home…”
In comparison to “For var jord”, Sweet People adds a sense of urgency with the song. Shouting that “the end was really near”, Alyosha laments on the current state of the world; imploring immediate action on the climate. She co-wrote the song because “she is convinced that world leaders are capable of solving most global environmental problems but lack political will. ” In addition, the music video was shot in Chernobyl, to represent the destruction humanity has wrought.
Paradise Oskar — Da Da Dam (Finland 2011)
“I’m going out in the world to save our planet
And I ain’t coming back until she’s saved
I’ll walk my way to see the king and parliament
If they don’t help, I’ll do it by myself“
Despite the title, Da Da Dam tells the story of little Peter, who wants to save the planet, even though he maybe alone in doing so. In recent years, comparisons are made with Peter and Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist who protested in front of the parliament when she was fifteen, which led to many young people joining in her climate activism. In addition, she has met with leaders around the world to discuss about what to do to stop climate change. It shows that you don’t have to wait to get started on saving our earth.
“How can we go to sleep at night
And lay there in our beds?
When we know what’s going on
With the world today?”
You may know Darude for his global hit “Sandstorm”, but he also participated in eurovision with Sebastian Rejman in a song imploring people to not look away when faced with climate change. The LEDs are filled with ice caps and glaciers, which melted at an accelerated rate over the last few decades. If Greenland’s ice sheet melted, for example, the “sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet)“, and losing the Antarctic ice would result in a 200 ft. sea level increase. In addition, they play an important role in maintaining temperatures across the planet–them melting could also see warmer ocean waters, which can already impact fragile ecosystems.
Alicja – Empires (Poland 2020)
“Like moths to a flame
Like bird to a pane of glass
Hoping for change but we do the same
We’re gasoline and a match“
While the contest might be cancelled, Alicja’s song still has relevance to the world right now, for it depicts how empires rise and fall because of their actions. Where could we go from here?