150: Earth Day Special: The Environmental Music Prize! with Edwina Floch
Australia is turning up the volume on environmentalism for the world to hear!
About this episode
If you turned on your favorite music radio station, would you know we’re in a crisis?
Only 1% of songs in National Australian premier radio station Triple J’s Hottest 100 (2.5M+ votes) over the last 5 years directly referenced environmental issues…and that’s following mass bleaching of The Great Barrier Reef, The devastating Australian Bushfires of 2019-2020, AND a recent study before COP26 that reported 75% of Australians are concerned about climate change.
So why is Australian mainstream music so culturally disconnected from a population overwhelmingly environmentalist? We know artists, bands, and musicians have been and are currently creating environmentally-minded music, so how do we get those songs into the mainstream?
Our guest today, Edwina Floch, recently launched The Environmental Music Prize - A new $AU 20,000 prize that amplifies the voices of artists who inspire action for climate and conservation. The prize launched during the UN Climate Summit, and it's a global first and a call-to-action for artists to create and submit powerful music videos that celebrate nature and encourage us to defend it.
Every movement needs anthems. The search is on!
Enjoy the show and stick around to hear some amazing music from music artists Montaigne, In Hearts Wake, Little Green, and Billy Otto!
Mentioned links from the episode:
- LEARN: Learn more about The Environmental Music Prize! Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Website
- WATCH: All the Music Videos by the finalists for The Environmental Music Prize!
- VOTE: Vote for your favourite Environmental Music Prize finalists!
- DONATE: Keep The Environmental Music Prize going!
A massive thank you to all our musical guests this week:
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
WATCH: ‘Ready’ Music Video (feat. School Strike For Climate Activist Fergus Clarkson)
In Hearts Wake
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | EMP Profile
Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | EMP Profile
Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | EMP Profile
Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | EMP Profile
Christiana: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism. I am not Tom Rivett-Carnac, but I am Christiana Figueres.
Clay: [00:00:19] And I'm not Paul Dickinson, but I am Clay Carnill.
Christiana: [00:00:23] And this is not a typical episode. As we celebrate Earth Day around the world, today we bring you a musical festival and a wonderful conversation with Edwina Floch from the Australian Environmental Music Prize. Thanks for being here and enjoy the musical feast.
Clay: [00:00:55] So, Christiana, what are we doing today?
Tom and Paul are away, and you've invited me to come on with you for this Earth Day episode. And so if this is not a regular episode, what is this?Load More
Christiana: [00:01:10] Yeah, well, it's sort of a hybrid, right? It's sort of an episode, but it's a very special one because it is absolutely packed with music. We are going to be interviewing Edwina Floch, who is Australian and who has had an absolutely brilliant idea of starting an Environmental Music Prize that she's starting in Australia. And it is a prize that seeks to encourage and then amplify the voices of artists who are inspiring action for climate, but conservation in general. It is definitely a first. And as she will say on the interview, she's been inspired by other prizes that are out there, also inspiring action. But this is a very special one, isn't it? She's calling for music videos that have environment calls and environment themes at their core. Now, Clay, I don't know about you because you're the one that always has to find these musical pieces that we are so delighted to include in our regular episodes. But my sense is there's a real drought out there of environmental music. We put on beautiful pieces, but are they all environmentally themed?
Clay: [00:02:30] No. And listeners of the show will know that the artists that we do have on the podcast will often both speak and sing to the intersectionality of the climate crisis. And just one aspect of that is environmentalism. But drought is the right word because when it comes to environmentally minded music, because we don't have a karaoke book of songs to just kind of pick from and play, it takes a team of us to find a music artist, book them for the show, get all the paperwork in place, make sure we have the proper licenses to be able to play the music approval from labels, publishers, etc. Make sure we have every photo video link to their music correct so we can promote them. And once everything is set in place, I go and listen to every artist and try to find ways that we can amplify their music, their message, which if environmental, we definitely want to mention. But it's not always environmental themed music. But it's an interesting question you ask because, and we'll discuss this later in the episode. But one of the more selfish reasons why I'm excited about featuring the Environmental Music Prize is because now because of the Environmental Music Prize entries, we have an extensive list of artists raising their hands saying, Hey, I'm actively creating environmentally minded music. And the hope is that this environmental music prize goes so well that it goes global and not just for Australia, and then we'll have an even more diverse and inclusive range of artists. So that is really exciting for us.
Christiana: [00:04:04] That is so exciting. And you know, as we talk about a drought of environmental music, I must say it's also quite exciting that this is coming out of down under, right out of Australia, because frankly, Australia has not been known over the years for its environmental policies. I call it a seesaw. Other people call it the climate wars. Every time we have a new government, it's either pro or against climate. And they go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And just recently Australia was ranked absolutely dead last for climate action in the 2021 UN Sustainable Development Report. So kudos to Edwina right, to start basically to populate in what is two overlapping droughts, one of environmental music and secondly Australian policy. Although, and this is the irony of the whole thing, although Australians are so aware of climate change, they are so environmentally minded, they are such outside enjoy nature people. So it is really quite, quite a juxtaposition that she is stepping into there.
Clay: [00:05:21] Yeah. And not to forget the wildfires in early 2020. I mean, I remember sitting with Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia, when we had him on the podcast, hearing from him just the absolute devastation, some 1 billion animals dying in those wildfires among the human life loss and deconstruction of ecosystems. So for Australians to experience firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change, and then for the government to have a poor and inadequate response. We were getting emails from listeners in Australia saying, please, just please. Can you guys talk about this more? We need to be building social movements to enact the political change we need. And can you just talk about it more?
Christiana: [00:06:09] And that's what Edwina is really looking at here, right? She really has, I would say, as a student of the history of music, she knows that social movements and political movements have had at their bases musical inspiration that touches not just the minds, but the hearts of people. And kudos to her for starting this. What we hope, as you said, Clay, is going to be actually not just Australian, but a global, exciting Environmental Music Prize. Now, Clay, can you walk us through what is going to happen on this non episode, episode, which is a musical festival, quite different from everything else we've done?
Clay: [00:06:56] Yes. So today we will be speaking with Edwina Floch in just a moment, we'll learn more about the roots of the prize, how it works. And we'll ask Edwina how it's going to achieve the ambitious change it's setting out to do. We'll also hear from Environmental Music Prize Music Ambassador Montaigne. She's an amazing artist as well as we get the privilege of playing on our podcast, her environmental anthem titled Ready. But wait, there's more. After hearing from both, Edwina and Montaigne will play a few select finalist entries for the prize, and listeners will get a call to action on how they can participate in the finals. Spoiler alert, you get to vote and listen to music while you do so. So all of this of course, amplifying and empowering the message of the environmental movement through Australian music. So that's what we have coming up.
Christiana: [00:07:52] Very exciting and we're not going to do an outro this time because we want to reserve all the time for the music itself and for Edwin's conversation with us. So thanks very much. Thanks for being here and enjoy the musical banquet today and see you next time.
Clay: [00:08:12] Okay, let's go talk to Edwina.
Christiana: [00:08:19] Edwina, how delightful to have you on Outrage + Optimism. And I really wish that all our listeners could see you because I'm seeing you on my screen with this fantastic T-shirt that says No Music On A Dead Planet. What an absolutely powerful message. And that is why you have created this prize that we are so excited to hear from you. Could you take us back, Edwina, a little bit to the moment that you've been, or the moments in which you've been really contemplating the fact that we have so, so few examples of environmentally themed music and why you thought making a prize for environmental music would bring this advocacy to the music world?
Edwina Floch: [00:09:16] So I'm really interested in in social change, but also theories of exponential change. And probably about ten years ago I listened to a podcast about the X Prize and I was really interested in in that model, using a prize to focus people's attention on a big, bold problem and accelerate it. Obviously, in the last couple of years, there's been the Earthshot Prize that you're the chair of Christiana, and one of my friends was actually involved in the early design phase with the Royal Foundation, and I thought that that was a brilliant idea. I was really interested in how can we reach millions or perhaps billions of people and move them to action on on big environmental or social issues? And I saw that documentary was using this model very successfully. And so I actually worked for Documentary Australia Foundation for a couple of years and really saw how over the last ten or 15 years, documentary is really professionalized and beyond creating beautiful artworks that touch and inspire people, documentary filmmakers are now, you know, elaborating really strategic impact strategies to try and lead people on a pathway to action through partnerships and with very clear theory of change. And so I saw films like Blue and 2040 which talk about the ocean or future solutions for climate change. And then last year I was actually putting on a or part of a group, putting on a summit on social change and environmental issues called Nexus. And I had the great privilege of interviewing Jane Goodall and some of Australia's top climate leaders. And I thought, you know, wouldn't it be wonderful to really immerse people in the issue and make them really primed before going into the session? I'll play some documentary trailers on environmental issues and I'll play some music videos. So trailers were no issue. And then, as you know, because you have music at the end of your podcast, it's actually a bit of an issue to find great music that touches on environmental themes.
Christiana: [00:11:32] Oh my gosh Edwina yes. I think Clay and I would definitely say we're always thrilled to have the artists that we put on and share the episode with us. But honestly, it is very difficult. If we're to say, right, we're only going to put environmentally themed music pieces on the podcast. We would be in a very, very dire situation because it's very little. So we are thrilled that you are helping to create that demand for more environmentally themed music with just thrilled that you're doing that.
Edwina Floch: [00:12:13] So it's actually not just an impression. I also thought, well, I'm obviously completely out of touch with the music scene that I don't know this music. And now having looked, I have found some really fantastic music, but I fell on all these Earth Day playlists. And so they referenced songs like Earth Song by Michael Jackson and Salt Water by Julian Lennon and all these songs that have been written 30 years ago. So this is.
Christiana: [00:12:39] Which are fantastic
Edwina Floch: [00:12:42] Exactly. I thought we're in the middle of a climate crisis, especially young people are deeply concerned. And so why isn't, you know, we're in this effervescence of music being created digitally, and so why is there not more music? So I approached Green Music Australia, which is the not-for-profit that's been activating the music industry to make its practices more sustainable. And they did a bit of research. And so in Australia every summer this is like a big cultural institution called Triple J's Hottest 100, where they play like the top 100 songs and lots of people vote for it. In fact, it received over 3 million votes in 2019. Over the last five years, of those 500 songs, less than 1% actually referenced environmental issues. Wow. So there's this massive disconnect between what is popular music, and this is not a slight on Triple J, which is very kind of progressive and addresses lots of environmental issues in its interviews and things. But the music is not reflecting that, and that's contrary to 75% of Australians who are concerned about climate change.
Christiana: [00:13:53] Indeed, yeah.
Clay: [00:13:54] So you've described this really interesting disconnect where Australians are environmentally conscious and aware and concerned and usually music scenes within countries respond pretty rapidly and prolifically to any crisis or social unrest, government inaction and yet that disconnect. Right. And the top songs in the country are not proportionately reflecting the themes you'd expect in a crisis. So I'm curious to hear from you. Why do you think that that disconnect is there? And how is the prize set up to help bridge that disconnect?
Edwina Floch: [00:14:34] So so many things. Obviously, artists do actually really care about these issues. A lot of them feel like, you know, firstly and there is a subcategory of artist that is creating this music, but in a certain way, I would say that their audiences are probably those who are also very active in this space. So in a certain sense, they're preaching to the converted. And one of my objectives with this is to bring it more mainstream so that a whole range of different artists are creating this music. One of the ways in which we're going to do it is obviously by creating a cash prize, it rewards the artists who already are doing amazing work for the work that they feel has often been ignored or under compensated. And it will hopefully incentivize new artists to create new music in future, although probably not, like what I thought the timeframe was so short that artists wouldn't be creating music this time because we opened it up to the last five years to be a kind of retrospective and reward those who had kind of come before. However, lots of artists did go out and create music for it, so that was very exciting. And then the prize is actually just the tip of the iceberg. This is about music, but it's really about the environment. It's really about shining a light on the environmental movement, the amazing work being done by the organizations and advocates on the front line. And so they're really key to the design of the prize. We've invited, we've partnered with some of Australia's top environmental organizations like Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, the Wilderness Foundation, Ocean Impacts Organization, Australian Youth Climate Coalition. And so all of those organizations have now listened to the environmental songs that we've presented to them. They have selected the ones that they would like to see in the finals.
Christiana: [00:16:33] And so how many, how many entries did you get.
Edwina Floch: [00:16:37] Over 200.
Christiana: [00:16:39] Over 200. And they're all Australian based.
Edwina Floch: [00:16:43] Yes. So because of the strategic imperative in Australia, as you know. We launched during COP 26 hoping to break through the cluttered media cycle, which was pretty much covid dominated at that stage because we were in a lockdown definitely. And the aim was to be able to launch the songs in the lead up to, well, Earth Day, but also the federal election, which has actually just been called. So over the next month, people will be listening to artists of all different styles, of all different age groups. We have some of Australia's leading talent and most recognised songwriters, but we also have a 12 year old who will be part of the finals. And you know, heavy metal bands, pop, like we have a Sikh rapper, a whole collection and of course Indigenous artists who feature strongly in the finals.
Christiana: [00:17:43] Absolutely. So exciting. So from these 200 entries you are choosing or the committee, if I can call it that, are choosing the finalists. That's where you are currently in the process, is that right? Can you walk us through that timeline, Edwina?
Edwina Floch: [00:18:03] Sure. So we launched in November during the UN climate summit and called for applications. And the particularity of the prize is it needs to be a finished product. So it needs to be a music video that is already on YouTube that is ready to go viral and be shareable. This is all about having an additional communication tool in the arsenal of communities and individuals who care about these issues that they can watch something that they can connect with and then they can share with their friends. Obviously, we hope that they vote for the songs, but even if they just watch and share, that's already a major win for the environment. It's also a major win for the artists who are suddenly reaching whole new audiences that might not know them. And so it's really a win-win for everyone involved. We get more environmental music. The environmental organizations are able to share this really kind of positive message and connect with their traditional base in a new way. And so they will be sharing, Greenpeace, for example, as an audience of more than 1 million people in Australia, and they will be sharing the finalists with their audience and inviting them to vote. And it's a great opportunity for the artist to have their story profiled in a different way. So we'll have the song, of course, and the artist, but there's also a backstory around why they've written the song, why they care about the issue and the environmental organizations that they support.
Clay: [00:19:41] Super cool. So Edwina, you've mentioned that there's been over 200 entries to the prize and now we're down to the 20 or so finalists. As you've been listening to these songs, what have been some of the major themes, recurring words or even moods that have been shared in these entries? What are Australians singing about?
Edwina Floch: [00:20:07] Look, it's really diverse, which is exactly what we had hoped for. But we did ask the artists when they were applying what are the issues they most care about. So 93% of them said climate change was their top issue, followed by deforestation at 71% and oceans at equal 71%. And then the treatment of animals, I mean, that was out of issues that we had proposed to them. And most of them, 67%, said that their song was about climate change. Now, sometimes that was very.
Christiana: [00:20:39] You know, Edwina, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but those numbers do not surprise me, right? I think those numbers represent our musicians. Also, they represent the Australian population's concerns, which is why it's so frustrating that governments across decades in Australia have been so wishy washy and up and down and up and down about climate, what, what I call the Australian climate wars, right, with some governments really stepping in and others not. But I am so delighted to hear that throughout this up and down, up and down policy seesaw that you've had in Australia, that Australians continue to be so absolutely attentive and concerned about these issues. Those are astonishing numbers that you just shared with us.
Edwina Floch: [00:21:30] So obviously there are people that actually applied for the prize and so in some sense care about these issues. But I'd say that's reflective of the general population. Now we need to translate that into action where it's not the top, where it's not the number three issue, it's the number one issue. And so I guess I'm hoping through the Environmental Music Prize not to tell people what to think, but to connect them deeply, emotionally with these issues, because obviously we need the facts and the science. And thank you to the researchers and scientists out there who have undeniably shown us that climate change exists and all the other interlinked issues that go with that. But how are we going to move people from apathy to action?
Christiana: [00:22:15] From the head to the heart.
Edwina Floch: [00:22:18] Yes. And often in your podcast, you talk about, you know, what, what's the psychological motivator or how do we move people to do these things? And at the end of the day, you know, courage or determination is actually a mood. It's a feeling. And music can make you have different feelings, sadness, remorse, contemplation, courage, you know. And so I'm hoping that there won't be one climate anthem. I'm hoping that there will be many with one for each different type of person, but also one for each different type of mood. Because, as you know, in this battle, you have moments of deep despair and others of courage. And we need a song to help us tell that story.
Christiana: [00:23:07] Yes. Tell us about this anthem, because honestly, that word anthem, I was really, really impressed when I heard that it is part of your movement here. Usually you hear about anthems with respect to countries, write the national anthem of any country, but now you're launching this idea of having a climate anthem. How can you explain that to us? And who's actually taking that challenge up for you.
Edwina Floch: [00:23:42] Sure. So firstly, when I started doing some research as I was already thinking of this idea and listening to your music on your podcast, I listened to a great podcast called Where's Our Climate Anthem on How to Save a Planet.
Clay: [00:23:55] That's a great episode and a great podcast, too.
Edwina Floch: [00:23:58] Yeah, they interviewed this wonderful woman called Dr. Shana Redmond, who's a professor in musicology and African Studies. And basically she's researched social movements and anthems. So I thought it was really interesting that she said that basically every big social movement has had an anthem. Obviously the civil rights movements had lots of really powerful songs, but They Shall Overcome became this very powerful anthem that lasted many generations of the civil rights movements. The women's movement had songs like I Am Woman and, you know, even Dolly Parton's 9 to 5. Yes. And then the French Revolution had the Marseillaise, which became their national anthem, actually. So the climate doesn't really have an anthem. And so there are a few contenders. One of the contenders in that, I would say, is by a wonderful Australian artist called Montaigne. She's written a climate anthem called Ready, which is about the youth climate movement and being ready and frustrated and wanting to move to the next step. So we were incredibly lucky that she came on board as our ambassador at the genesis of the idea. She's been on the board of Green Music Australia. She was Australia's Eurovision candidate in 2021 and she's been working with a number of different environmental groups and she is just like a wonderful young feminist woman who's talented on stage and off stage. And so I believe we're going to play the whole of her song, Ready.
Clay: [00:25:38] Yeah. So let's actually just play it now. Listeners, you will hear from Montaigne speaking about the song and what she envisioned for the song to do in the world, and then her track will follow. So we'll see you back on the other side to talk a bit more with Edwina, here's Montaigne.
Montaigne: [00:25:59] My name is Jess Cerro, but I go by the project name of Montaigne. I wrote the song Ready in the height of pre-pandemic climate strike era. So high schools were organizing massive rallies in support of climate action. And I was so moved and impressed by this because I, as a young environmentalist, I was part of my school's green team. I really cared. I do really care about the environment, partly thanks to the influence of my science teacher. And at the time it was considered deeply uncool to be into the environment and want to change your behavior in order to be more environmentally friendly, sustainable anyway. So the purpose of Ready was to sort of be an anthem for these kids who are striking, not just kids. Of course, anyone who wants to strike and demonstrate on the street, for anyone who is frustrated by the current political climate and the lack of care that is taken by politicians for ordinary people or the planet. And yeah, I wanted it to be this galvanizing force for kids to be able to and adults, as I said, to be able to go out on the street and feel confident and feel united in this shared struggle. What music appears in, like popular consciousness, really reflects the time that we're in and the concerns of the general population. And I think if there were more environmental anthems at the fore, then people would know that this is a concern of young people and people in general. And I think it's also really important for the people that are organizing and committing to direct action, getting out on the streets and protesting to have music, to be able to stand together and call for what is needed.
Ready by Montaigne [00:28:08] [Song plays]
Clay: [00:31:16] So, Edwina, this is a fantastic song and a great example of something that's anthemic. It's an earworm, easy to sing along to. But let's talk about Montaigne for a second. I've been diving through YouTube, watching small local show footage of Montaigne from just six years ago to recently. She just wrote a song with David Byrne and performed it live at Eurovision. So that's impressive. So my question is, you know, where is she now? What is she up to now?
Edwina Floch: [00:31:47] I think the thing that impresses me most beyond the music is actually her activism. So she actually went to the ARIA Awards, which is the big recording industry awards with Stop Adani written on her face, Adani being the massive coal mines that are being built on the Great Barrier Reef. And another time she went with People Over Profit written on her chest. So in a beautiful evening gown, but with her activist manifesto written on her body, which got a lot of attention and gave her a platform to talk about the issue. And so I think it's really interesting working with artists who are using their voice and on stage and through their music, but are also using it offstage either to advocate or to do something different or original that goes beyond the musical realm. So other music ambassadors are also very noteworthy. Her name is Heidi Lenffer, and she was the lead singer of a band called Cloud Control. And realizing how carbon intensive touring was, instead of just every time paying out a lot of carbon credits for tours, she created a solar investment fund called FEAT, so Future Energy Artists and got $7 million in investment from amazing groups like Midnight Oil and Peking Duck and Vance Joy, who all use what they would have used on carbon credits to actually build solar farms in Queensland. And so they're developing renewable energy. And so that has now transitioned to something called Solar Slice, which is a ticketing clip that will be 1.5% of tickets going towards sustainable solutions to make it easy for people running festivals or events to I guess promote sustainability from the offset and include it into their ticketing price.
Clay: [00:33:45] That's awesome. That's really cool. So this episode is launching at the same time as the Environmental Music Prize is launching, and people will vote. A winner will be announced, the prize will wrap. But you've kind of mentioned that this isn't a one and done thing. So could you speak a bit about what the ambition for the prize is once this phase of the prize wraps?
Edwina Floch: [00:34:14] Absolutely. So we're launching almost in time with this podcast. So I invite your listeners to come to our website, watch the full music videos, vote for their favourite, hopefully share with others and be inspired. Sign up to our newsletter and follow the journey because this first inaugural prize is focused on Australia. But we hope next year or at the end of this year to launch a global prize and invite international artists to apply for that, obviously we need. So obviously like any not for profit project, we need support, but that can come in many forms. You know, obviously there's donations and financial support, but there's also becoming large organisations, becoming impact partners and bringing these songs to their audience and really amplifying the message and bringing people together around a common positive vision for the future.
Christiana: [00:35:17] Very exciting. Well, Edwina, since you are a listener of this podcast, you know that at the end of every episode we ask our guests one question. And I think from this conversation we can sort of guess what your answer is going to be, but we would love to hear from you directly. One thing that keeps you completely outraged and one thing that makes you very optimistic.
Edwina Floch: [00:35:44] Well, I am outraged, actually. Like many of your guests, I'm 49% outraged, 51% optimistic. I think obviously thinking about climate or ecosystems is very complex. But if we brought it back to our body, you would never think that you can eat like a pig, smoke all your life, you know, feast until the dying day and then suddenly turn vegan, you know, once you have. Once you have ecosystem collapse within your body because you have kidney failure and heart failure. It's very hard to suddenly reverse that trend. And so when you hear, you know, that we're reaching many of the tipping points or that we're already there, then necessarily I'm completely outraged that we've let ourselves become hedonistic pigs. And we definitely need to change our diet and start to exercise very rapidly. And I guess the 1% that tips me over into the optimism side is my children. I think if you have little ones at home, you need to maintain a lot of hope and there is a lot of hope. There are so many wonderful people out there doing amazing things. We just need to shine more light on them and support them.
Clay: [00:37:07] Well, that's what this Environmental Music Prize is doing, right? It's shining light. Jon Batiste just won album of the year at the Grammys this year. And when he gets up for his acceptance speech, he said this. I actually wrote it down. He said, I believe this in my core that there is no best musician, artist, dancer or actor. The arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most. It's like a song or an album has a radar to find that person. It needs to find when they need it most. And so that's what I love about this prize and what you're doing. You know, it's not a competition. You're increasing the radar, you're elevating artists and empowering the movement. So thank you for doing that. I'd really like to play some more music for our listeners from the finalists. We're going to play a few more of those in just a second. But before we do, Edwina, could you one more time just give our listeners their call to action? What are you asking them to do?
Edwina Floch: [00:38:11] Sure because we're launching now, we would love you to come to our website, watch the artists you're about to hear, watch the videos in full, discover the other finalists as well. Vote for your favorite or your three favorites. Share with others and sign up to our newsletter because next year we'll be launching globally and we'd like to invite you to come on the journey as well.
Christiana: [00:38:34] Super. What an exciting invitation with all that information will be in the show notes. So, Edwina, thank you so much. Thank you for taking the time to join us. And I'm sure a very, very busy few weeks that you have leading up to decisions here among finalists. Thank you so much for joining us. But above all, thank you for really being the motor behind bringing this medium to where it ought to be. You know, I'm old enough to remember the absolutely critical role of music ending the Vietnam War. And that's something that we don't have on climate, as you have said. So thank you so, so much for doing an extraordinary part to hopefully get us to that point where music will really motivate us and feed our determination. Thank you, Edwina.
Clay: [00:39:34] Yes, thank you, Edwina. Thank you.
Edwina Floch: [00:39:37] Thank you, Christina and Clay.
Clay: [00:39:39] All right. It is our pleasure. Now to play for you a few full songs and then a few samplings towards the end of some of the finalists for the Environmental Music Prize, you'll hear from each artist first about the song like we do every week on the show and then the song. So without further ado, here are some of the finalists from the Environmental Music Prize. Enjoy.
Billy Otto: [00:40:07] Hey, everyone. My name is Billy Otto. That is my band name. My artist name. And I wrote the song Can't Take the Ocean Out of Me. I have a deep love relationship with mother ocean and for me, Can't Take the Ocean Out of Me was an ode to the ocean, a lullaby. And basically for me, growing up in Newcastle as a surfer, I really learnt to, to reverence, nature and reverence mother ocean as I learnt to surf. I was what in Australia we call being a little grommet. I was out there at nine years old paddling with my friends and my family, taking the odd little surfing trips, and I basically wrote the song out of the place of a bit of anger and a bit of despair, because there was a huge oil company called Equinor that was trying to drill off South Australia. And if you know that the ocean off South Australia, it's mighty, it is roaring and raging, huge swells, really deep, deep seas. And basically the opportunity for there to be a spill at the Great Australian bight was going to be huge and the spill from an oil rig in this kind of place would spread all the way around to Perth, all the way up the coast of New South Wales, past Coffs Harbour. And to me the ocean is, is what I know to be true and it's held my hand through the darkest times and I want to preserve the ocean for my kids, one day. We have a window to be able to bring our relationship with mother nature into a more healthy symbiosis. So I hope you enjoy Can't Take the Ocean Out of Me. Lots of love.
Can't Take the Ocean Out of Me by Billy Otto [00:41:52] [Song plays]
Little Green: [00:44:53] Hello, my name is Little Green and I'm a singer songwriter from Sydney, from the stars, from Melbourne. I don't really know where I'm from. From the blue mountains is where I grew up. Anyways, my dream is to share a childlike appreciation of the natural world around me through music. I wrote this song called The Night about an alien looking down on earth and being really heartbroken at the mess that the humans have made. I guess I just want this song to inspire a shift in our relationship to nature and nurture it with a sense of love and connectedness. Because I think once we do that, we can begin to heal.
The Night by Little Green [00:45:41] [Song plays]
In Hearts Wake: [00:48:31] Hey, this is Jake Taylor from In Hearts Wake. And we have written a song called Worldwide Suicide. Worldwide Suicide was a response and a feeling of which we were in the studio in America, right when the bushfires, the black summer bushfires caused a blaze back home here in Oz. And at the time we had no idea, you know, the catastrophic and severity of the fires that they would grow to become six months later. But at the time it still felt quite odd, quite scary. And it was like for the first time the climate crisis had really reached our front door and yet we were in America experiencing our loved ones going through this through social media, which was super strange, it was very apocalyptic. And so worldwide suicide was written in a matter of a couple of days, if not one day, just like it just it just came out. It just flowed. It was very, very urgent. And it's it's the song that starts before, it's called Crisis, which is really connected to Worldwide Suicide and crisis features sn audio of Greta Thunberg speaking her, not famous but yeah quite well known speech Our House Is On Fire of which I was in New York in Battery Park at the time she delivered that speech and I recorded it on my phone. And I was able to get permission by Greta's team for us to use the audio from that to create a song. And yeah, it's quite a powerful sign of the times, to be honest. Yeah, you can really hear the repetition in the way that it's just full lines of lyrics, continuously driven, and it just gets slower and heavier each time. As if to say to our leaders that be, Why won't you hear us?
Worldwide Suicide by In Hearts Wake: [00:50:34] [Song plays]
King Stingray: [00:51:02] Yo from King Stingray. It's really important for us as Australian people that around the world, Native people are really worrying about this. Our resources are dying, traditional food as well because of the climate change and we're looking at the government to help us through this. Big situation, which is bushfires as well, burning the land and also the environment around us. Hey Wanhaka is a song where we ask, Hey, what's up? Where are you? And that counts for everyone around the world. Hey, what's up? Where are you? Because this affects everyone. Climate change, it affects the people in Antarctica, it affects the people in Australia, Europe, it affects people in the UK, it affects the people in Africa, everybody. And we need to start a change before our world changes and dies. And yeah, what we're saying is with this song, Hey Wanhaka, we want to go asking the question, where are we going? You know, where are we going? To the world. What are we doing about climate change? What are we doing to look after our Mother Earth and our planet? We're just putting that question out there. I think it's really important for us personally, but it's really important for everyone to come together and start thinking about where are we heading? And, you know, who's going to who's going to lead us and what are we going to do to make this place, you know, our beautiful home that we love and cherish. We've got to look after it. So that's what this song is about, putting the word out to the cockatoo and, you know, checking in. What's going on? Where are we going? That's it. We've got to know.
Hey Wanhaka by King Stingray [00:53:02] [Song plays]
Clay: [00:53:38] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism. I'm Clay, producer of the show and this week, guest co-host. Thank you for listening. What an amazing sample of the finalists for the Environmental Music Prize we just heard. And I just want to be clear, that is not all of them. And in fact, we wanted to play more music for you on this episode, but we had to cut the list short because we're still in process of getting approval from publishers labels and the amount of emails that are flying around the world right now to make this happen. Truly amazing. There's quite a diverse grouping of artists that we want to feature and only have so much time to do it. So we decided that over the next couple of weeks, as listeners can still vote for their favorite finalists for the prize, we'll play more of those artists ranging in different genres and styles as we get all the right paperwork in order behind the scenes. Truly. And I think Edwina actually said this, we've only touched the tip of the iceberg on this, and we're so excited for this prize to go global. As communities, especially marginalized communities and non-mainstream genre artists around the world have been creating environmental music for years. And so we want to support this. It's only the beginning. But why wait to listen to more music when you can go listen to it right now. Go to www.environmentalmusicprize.com right now to see all of the music videos for the finalists and vote for your favorite artists there. Give their social media accounts a follow so you can stay up to date on how the prize is going and sign up for the Environmental Music Prize newsletter so you can be notified when your favorite artist wins.
Clay: [00:55:21] Every link you need is in the show notes. So special thank you. This week to Edwina Floch for joining us as guests on the show. Edwina, it was so cool to meet you. Hear about the prize and we couldn't be more excited to be an impact partner for the prize and help amplify voices of artists around the world. Thank you to the musical guests on this episode. Here they are in order of appearance. Thank you Montaigne, Billy Otto, Little Green In Hearts Wake and King Stingray. Thanks for sharing your music with us. All right, so much music I forgot to say Happy Earth Day. So Happy Earth Day. What are your plans? What are you up to? What are you going to do? Here are my plans for today. Today for Earth Day, I'm going to read a bit more of Leah Thomas's book, The Intersectional Environmentalist, and Grab Some Vegan Food with a Friend. We just had 1 to 2 inches of snow drop in Detroit on Monday, and I'm kind of scared to plant anything here until the ground softens and things warm up a bit. So make sure you get outside. Do something to reconnect and nurture the earth. Wear a jacket that's cold and of course, vote for your favorite artists on www.environmentalmusicprize.com. You can find us @OutrageOptimism online. We have new social handles. If you enjoyed this week's episode, please leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and hit, subscribe or follow or whichever it is on your podcasting platform of choice. Okay, that is a wrap for this week. Next week, another episode coming your way. We'll see you then.