The First Earth Day Song

declining multilateralism

I’m calling it the first because the impact factor of Lil Dicky’s “Earth”, released three days before Earth Day 2019, has already surpassed 60 million views during its first 9 days on YouTube. No other Earth Day song to date can brag that level of notoriety or relevance. Below is a short description of his motivation in starting this campaign. Warning: some language!

At present, we need environmental policies more than ever. There has been a decline in multilateral agreements that protect Earth ever since the Rio Summit in 1992. Rather than just give up on the issue of climate change because public interests don’t seem to be getting across in policy negotiations, nonprofits have stepped forward to fill the gap and start working on environmental issues that won’t wait for a policy before they start impacting peoples’ lives.

declining multilateralism
Plot from caluchko on plotly.

Who remembers All Star by Smash Mouth – everyone’s favorite band that was featured in Shrek? The song was released in 1999, amidst the discovery of an ozone hole in our atmosphere. The issue demanded immediate international action (aka multilateralism) to regulate the emission of CFCs and put a stop to the rise in dangerous cancers that symbolized a very real, tangible consequence of industry’s actions. Smash Mouth was moved by the disruption of Earth’s natural atmosphere and voiced their concerns in the song that so fondly shaped my childhood – and probably a lot of other 90’s babies childhoods as well:

“It’s a cool place and they say it gets colder
You’re bundled up now, wait till you get older
But the meteor men beg to differ
Judging by the hole in the satellite picture.

The ice we skate is getting pretty thin
The water’s getting warm so you might as well swim
My world’s on fire, how about yours?
That’s the way I like it and I never get bored” – Smash Mouth, All Star

sky earth galaxy universe
Photo by Pixabay on

Lil Dicky didn’t speak so eloquently on the issue in his music video called Earth, but what more would you expect from a musical comedian of sorts? Despite his ‘good’ intentions – critics are questioning those – the lyrics are quite lewd and the visuals leave little to the imagination as well. It has been ranked by a few pop culture writers below “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and “We Are The World” in terms of charity singles. According to a review on The Daily by the University of Washington:

Earth is music’s equivalent of a late-period Rob Schneider movie sitting in a 99-cent bin at a Value Village. One would assume someone seeking to make a substantial and positive impact on the environment would be more thoughtful in their composition and lyricism” – Blake Peterson

Although the music video reached a large amount of people, those people don’t appear to be very happy with Lil Dicky. To make it worse, so far less than 1% of people who watched the video bothered to click on the link at the end to the charitable website run by Leonardo DiCaprio.

While I agree that the video was absolutely tacky, there’s something to be said about the world’s most un-serious person taking climate change seriously. And if no one else is going to make a music video about it, this is all we got. Here’s the video. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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