Michael Jackson: The Greatest Environmental Communicator Ever

Who knew the King of Pop would be remembered as an ambassador for the Earth. If you have 7 minutes and change to spare, have a look at the music video for Jackson’s 1995 hit (in the UK at least) “Earth Song.”


Did you watch the video? If not, beware of spoilers ahead. The imagery here is apocalyptic: death and destruction everywhere (of people, forests, animals, etc.), and a wasted earth. I was concentrating on the images at first and found them quite sympathetic to the plight not only of people (victims of war, drought, deforestation), but also of animals and places. It struck me as somewhat ecocentric. Reading the lyrics did not have quite the same impact, though in my quick glance at them, I didn’t notice anything to outright contradict that interpretation. However, they do emphasize the plight of humanity and I suppose the images do as well. As for agency and how we address the planet’s problems, wouldn’t it be great if we could just run the tape backwards and make everything better?

I don’t own any of Michael’s music (I was too busy listening to Bruce Springsteen and Bruce Cockburn in the 80s) , but maybe this one is worth a trip to the iTunes store. Or maybe I’ll just stick with Raffi

RIP Michael (and Farrah too).

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About Mark S. Meisner

Executive Director of the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA). I also research, teach, write about, and speak on environmental and sustainability communication, media, culture, and policy. Facts are usually facts, but opinions and sense of humour are always my own.
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2 Responses to Michael Jackson: The Greatest Environmental Communicator Ever

  1. Pingback: immanence - earth songs: Michael Jackson’s cultural ecologies

  2. Jacquie says:

    Wow! Didn’t know about that one, and actually thought the video was quite powerful.

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