World-first music prize is hoping to inspire environmental action

There are a few days left for the public to vote for the winner of the inaugural Environmental Music Prize. The prize aims to recognise songs that celebrate the environment and can also motivate people to help defend it. 

Edwina Floch was inspired to establish the Environmental Music Prize when she realised how very few contemporary songs were addressing the climate crisis. In fact, of all the songs that have been listed on Triple J’s Hottest 100 over the past five years – only 1% of them directly referenced environmental issues. 

“I launched the prize to reward the artists who are already doing incredible work and hopefully incentivise new artists to get involved in this space,” Edwina explained.  

She also hopes that the prize, by highlighting these songs, can inspire action in the majority of the population who do care about the environment but are yet to act. 

“We need the facts and the science but then how do you move people to action? And that’s emotion.” 

Since it was launched in November 2021, the Environmental Music Prize has attracted support from around the world as well as backing from major organisations like Universal Music Australia and NEXUS Global. 

Most importantly, the prize received a massive response from Australian artists. By the time entries closed in February of 2022, over 200 songs had been submitted!

“The feedback has been very positive,” Edwina said.

It was up to the esteemed selection panel (which included Australian Eurovision finalist Montaigne and the CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, David Ritter) to whittle the hundreds of entries down to the top 24. 

Those 24 finalists are:  

  • “Addicted To The Sunshine” by Lime Cordiale
  •  “Can’t Take The Ocean Out Of Me” by Billy Otto
  •  “Hello My Beautiful World” by Holy Holy
  •  “Hey Wanhaka” by King Stingray
  •  “Housefyre” by Briggs & Tim Minchin
  •  “If Not Now Then When” by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
  •  “In Love With This Place” by Jess Ribeiro
  •  “Messin’ Me Up” by What So Not, ft. Evan Giia
  •  “Mother” by L-Fresh The Lion ft. Moza and Mirrah
  •  “Our Song” by Tambah Project (Nidala Barker, Kyle Lionhart & Billy Otto)
  •  “Port Road” by Holy Holy
  •  “Say Something” by Eskimo Joe
  •  “Sky Was Blue – The Bushfire Song” by Reverend Bones
  •  “Sleep Australia Sleep” by Paul Kelly
  •  “Ta’u Tama” by Small Island Big Song
  •  “The Night” by Little Green
  •  “The Truth” by Rory Phillips
  •  “Voices” by Sage Roadknight
  •  “We Are The Youth” by Jack River
  •  “What If” by Ciaran Gribbin
  •  “When A Tree Falls” by The Boy Of Many Colors, ft. Emily Wurramara
  •  “World Migratory Bird Day Virtual Choir” by Bowerbird Collective & The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership
  •  “Worldwide Suicide” by In Hearts Wake
  •  “Your Country” by William Crighton, ft. William Barton & Julieanne Crighton

One of those finalists, Little Green, described her song “The Night” as a “love song for Earth.” 

“It’s written from the perspective of an alien looking at Earth, being really heartbroken at the humans and the mess that we are creating.” 

While only one can win the title and the $20,000 prize, Little Green emphasised that the real prize is just being recognised and getting to stand alongside inspiring fellow artists who are all concerned about our world. 

“The best feeling is when you’re part of something bigger than yourself, and that’s what I feel like this prize is.” 

You can join the thousands of people around the world who have voted for the first Environmental Music Prize winner. To watch the music videos and vote for your favourites, simply visit this link: https://environmentalmusicprize.com

Voting remains open until midnight on Sunday the 15th of May.

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Markos Hasiotis

Markos Hasiotis is a writer and researcher based in Melbourne. He has written content for outlets around the world and volunteered for a variety of causes, including mental health, the environment, animal welfare and Meals on Wheels. His main passion is sharing facts and fighting against the forces of propaganda and misinformation.

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