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Michael Jackson: King and Environmentalist

by admin on November 26, 2012

“This is Earth’s song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate of man’s mismanagement of the Earth.”-Michael Jackson

What do you think of when you hear the name “Michael Jackson”? Jackson Five, sequined gloves, moonwalk, crotch grab……Earth Song?  Many people thought of Jackson as different, unusual, and even crazy, but he made a difference in the world that few people fully understand.  “Earth Song,” one of his little known pieces in the United States, changed the world in many different ways.  Michael Jackson was not just the “King of Pop,” he was also an important icon of environmentalism.

After writing numerous socially-conscious songs such as “Man in the Mirror,” “We are the World,” and “Heal the World,” Jackson decided to write a song that promoted the preservation of the environment as well as the conservation of natural resources.  He started writing “Earth Song” during his tour in Austria in 1995.  Selling over a million copies, “Earth Song” was Jackson’s biggest hit in the U.K.  Jackson also received many environmental awards for “Earth Song,” including the Genesis Award and the Doris Day Music Award in 1995.

Jackson tried to make the lyrics as simple as possible so the whole world could understand his message in his masterpiece. He focused on two different approaches to improving the environment: conservation and preservation.  Conservation is the careful management of the environment and of natural resources, whereas preservation is the activity of protecting something from loss or danger.  In his lyrics, Jackson expresses the relevance of conservation and preservation not only to the environment, but to endangered species as well.

What about nature’s worth
It’s our planet’s womb

What about animals
We’ve turned kingdoms to dust
What about elephants
Have we lost their trust
What about crying whales
We’re ravaging the seas
What about forest trails
Burnt despite our pleas

Though the lyrics are simple, they are very powerful. Judging from reviews of this song, Jackson’s music made a strong impact:

“This is one of the best songs that gives a message that I have ever heard! It tells that if we don’t save the world, it could end up terribly sad. And if we don’t help animals and stop war, there will be nothing left… So I think this song is the best inspiration for me to save the world out of all of the inspirations I have heard/seen. Love you, MJ!”   -MICHAELJACKSONOBSESSED98

In “Earth Song’s” music video, there are four different settings Jackson uses to reinforce his environmental beliefs.  The first location was the Amazon rainforest.  Here the video showed the damage that deforestation has caused to the magnificent setting.  The people in this setting were not actors or actresses, but real inhabitants.  The second scene was set in Croatia after a battle had demolished a small town.  A child’s bent and twisted bicycle was found by a local townsman who flashback to see the bicycle’s owner playing in a golden field of blossoming flowers. Some believe that Jackson might be referring to the ethnic cleansing during the Yugoslavian wars in the early 1990’s.  The third setting depicted the poaching of animals in Tanzania. Although there were no animals harmed while in the making of this video, two elephants were killed a mile away from where Jackson filmed the movie.  The scenes of Jackson walking through a destroyed forest were filmed in Warwick, New York, where a simulated fire took place in an old cornfield. By depicting such powerful scenes of deforestation, war, and animal poaching Jackson gave his viewers a clear sense of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.

by Casey Murphey

Resources

“Earth Song.” Wikipedia. N.p., 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 Oct. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Song>.

“Earth Song.” SongFacts. ToneMedia, n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2012. <http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5203>.

Duncan Lewis November 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

The exposure of Micheal’s relations with environmental consciousness is exquisite and opens a whole realm of his achievements other than his big musical success. The inclusion of the lyrics in his environmental song “earth song” shows the care he took when developing his songs for nature and the meaning behind the lyrics. Also, nice work on including his “Earth song”‘s many sceneries and clips that show environmental degradation.

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