Item Details

‘There’s no music on a dead planet’: The role of Green Music Australia in climate change activism

Issue: Vol 20 No. 2 (2020) Special Issue: Music and Politics

Journal: Perfect Beat

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/prbt.40329


The article focuses on how popular music, environmental activism and climate change blend in the work of Green Music Australia through its projects and the networks it establishes within the music industry. The article describes a contextual background; broadly explores the links between popular music, environmental activism and climate change; and considers the notion of collective action. It concentrates on Green Music Australia by investigating the framing of its political and cultural imperative for climate activism. The article concludes with a reflection that includes the Global Climate Strike.

Author: Julie Rickwood

View Original Web Page

References :

Allen, Aaron S. 2011. ‘Colloquy: Ecomusicology’. Journal of American Musicological Society 54/2: 391–93.

Allen, Aaron S., and Kevin Dawe, eds. 2016. Current Directions in Ecomusicology: Music, Nature, Environment. New York and London: Routledge. 

Barney, Katelyn, and Elizabeth Mackinlay. 2010. ‘“Singing Trauma Trails”: Songs of the Stolen Generations in Indigenous Australia’. Music and Politics 4/2: 1–25.

Boulton, Elizabeth. 2019. ‘The Anthropocene: Is It Time to Reframe Threat?’ Paper presented at Changing the Story: Narration and Framing in Regulation and Governance, School of Regulation and Global Governance, ANU, 10 September.

Bradley, John. 2019. ‘Unearthed’. Meanjin, Spring. Online at (accessed 24 September 2019).

Butler, Simon. 2014. ‘Pacific Climate Warriors: “We are not drowning, we are fighting!” Climate and Capitalism, 27 August. Online at (accessed 18 August 2019).

Carattini, Stefano, Simon Levin and Alesandro Tavoni. 2017. ‘Cooperation in the Climate Commons’. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy Working Paper No. 292/Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper No. 259, January. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

Carfoot, Gavin. 2016. ‘“Enough is enough”: Songs and Messages about Alcohol in Remote Central Australia’. Popular Music 35/2: 222–30.

Cashmere, Paul. 2019. ‘Midnight Oil Debut “Tarkine”, Their First New Song since 2002’. Noise 11, 24 May. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

Centre for Climate Safety. 2017. ‘Concerned Musicians Communicate Climate Problems’. Online at (accessed 23 September 2019).

Coker, Jane. 2019. ‘Song & Chants for Planet Earth: A Compilation of Songs by Jane Coker’. Community Music Victoria, 8 October. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

Corn, Aaron. 2012. ‘Treaty Now: Popular Music and the Indigenous Struggle for Justice in Contemporary Australia’. In Music and Protest, ed. I. Peddie, 443–56. Surrey: Ashgate.

Currier, Nathan. 2014. ‘Classical Music in the Anthropocene’. Ecomusicology Newsletter 3/1: 8–12; 30–52.

Dunbar-Hall, Peter, and Chris Gibson. 2000. ‘Singing about Nations within Nations: Geopolitics and Identity in Australian Indigenous Rock Music’. Popular Music and Society 24/2: 45–73.

Flannery, Tim. 2019. ‘The Gloves are Off: “Predatory” Climate Deniers are a Threat to Our Children’. The Conversation, 17 September. Online at (accessed 17 September 2019).

Garofalo, Reebee, ed. 1992. Rockin’ the Boat: Mass Music and Mass Movements. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Green Music Australia. (last accessed 11 December 2019).

Griffiths, Tom. 2019. ‘Friday Essay: Thinking Like a Planet—Environmental Crisis and the Humanities’. The Conversation, 1 November. Online at (accessed 1 November 2019).

Grouch, Sherryn. 2019. ‘Global Climate Strike in Canberra: 12,000 Join Student March’. The Canberra Times, 20 September.

Higgins, Missy. 2016. ‘Missy Higgins: How an Obsession with Apocalyptic Climate Fiction Changed My Life’. The Guardian, 22 November. Online at (accessed 23 September 2019)

Hollo, Tim. 2014. Key Change: The Role of the Creative Industries in Climate Change Action. Green Music Australia. Online at

—2016. Personal conversation with author, Canberra, 15 April.

—2019a. ‘This is What Democracy Looks Like!’ The Green Institute. Online at (accessed 27 September 2019).

—2019b. ‘As the Climate Collapses, We Can Either Stand Together—or Perish Alone’. The Guardian. Online at (accessed 4 October 2019).

Hollo, Tim. 2019c. ‘Towards an Ecological Democracy—a Political Theory for the 21st Century’. Fenner School of Environment and Society Seminar, Australian National University, 20 August.

Hutcheon, Jane, and Eloise Fuss. 2017. ‘Missy Higgins: New Music Inspired by Apocalypse and Climate Change’. ABC News, 18 October. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019). 

Johnson, Chris. 2016. ‘Why the Big Gas Companies are Out to Get John Butler’. The New Daily, 28 October. Online at (accessed 12 October 2019).

Kahn, Richard. 2013. ‘Environmental Activism in Music’. Online at (accessed 18 August 2019).

Lenton, Timothy M., Johan Rockstrom, Owen Gaffney, Stefan Rahmstorf, Katherine Richardson, Will Steffen and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. 2019. ‘Tipping Points: Time for an Emergency Response’. Stockholm Resilience Centre. Online at (accessed 9 December 2019).

Letts, Richard. 2017. ‘The Music Trust Announces an Important New Project to Place Music at the Service of Climate Action’. Music Trust E-Zine, 5 April. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

Lyons, Kate. 2019. ‘Revealed: “Fierce” Pacific Forum Meeting Almost Collapsed over Climate Crisis’. The Guardian, 16 August. Online at (accessed 18 August 2019).

McClymont, Justine. 2016. ‘How Australian Musicians are Reducing the Environmental Impact of the Music Scene’. 1 Million Women Blog, 14 December. Online at (accessed 18 August 2019).

McDonald, Matt. 2019. ‘Highly Touted UN Climate Summit Failed to Deliver—and Scott Morrison Failed to Show up’. The Conversation, 24 September. Online at (accessed 24 September 2019).

McMahon, Jeannette. 2013. ‘What’s Up with Protest Songs?’ ABC Newcastle. Online at (accessed 15 August 2019). 

Martyn, Shona. 2020. ‘“A tipping point”: Paul Kelly’s New Song Attacks Climate Inaction’. Sydney Morning Herald, 31 January. Online at (accessed 12 July 2020).

Mushroom Music Publishing. 2019. ‘Ash Grunwald’. Mushroom Music Publishing. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

NFSA (National Film and Sound Archive). 2019. Iconic Songs Become Sounds of Australia. Media Release, 7 November. Online at (accessed 7 November 2019).

Ostrom, Elinor. 2010. ‘Polycentric Systems for Coping with Collective Action and Global Environmental Change’. Global Environmental Change 20/4: 550–57. Online at (accessed 12 September 2019).

Pedelty, Mark. 2012. Ecomusicology: Rock, Folk, and the Environment. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

—2016. A Song to Save the Salish Sea: Musical Performance as Environmental Activism. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Phillips, Sara. 2011. ‘The Hottest 100, Environmentally Speaking. Environment: Content from Across the ABC’. Online at: (accessed 15 August 2019). 

Richardson, Michael. 2018. ‘Climate Trauma, or the Affects of the Catastrophe to Come’. Environmental Humanities 10/1: 1–19.

Rickwood, Julie. 2014. ‘Choralecology? Community Choirs and Environmental Activism’. Social Alternatives 33/1: 30–38.

—2017. ‘Lament, Poetic Prayer, Petition and Protest: Community Choirs and Environmental Activism in Australia’. MUSICultures 44/2: 109–32.

Rosenthal, Robert, and Richard Flacks. 2011. Playing for Change: Music and Musicians in the Service of Social Movements. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Saintilan, Paul. 2019. ‘Climate Change, the Environment and Music’. Music Australia News, 29 October. Online at y+2017_COP Y_ 0&ut m _medium=email&ut m _term= 0_f536243dd9-a4fad1b558-249769317 (accessed 1 December 2019).

Shevock, Daniel J. 2018. Eco-literate Music Pedagogy. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Staff/The Brag Media/Tone Deaf. 2015. ‘Track by Track: Ash Grunwald Takes Us through His New LP “Now”’. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

Stefanakis, Mandy. 2017. ‘Ash Grunwald interview: “Wake up, people!!!”’. Loud Mouth, 5 November. Online at (accessed 11 December 2019).

Street, John. 2003. ‘“Fight the Power”: The Politics of Music and the Music of Politics’. Government and Opposition: An International Journal of Comparative Politics 38/1: 113–30.

Taylor, Hollis. 2013. ‘Music and Environment: Registering Contemporary Convergences’. Journal of Music Research Online: A Journal of Music Australia. Online at (accessed 12 September 2019).