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Carmen Modjito shares her favourite songs heralding climate activism

Wielding attitude and an arresting vocal delivery, Carmen Modjito is a woman on a mission. Resonant, soulful, and undeniable, her recent single House Is On Fire and its powerful video are testament to her timely advocacy for environmental action.

In perfect alignment, the Melbourne-based singer/songwriter has shared a list of her favourite climate change anthems, reminding us all that the fight for this planet is ongoing.

With the world burning, now is the time to be singing words of empowerment. Lucky for us, Carmen Modjito knows a thing or two about resilience. Hear from the artist herself:

We live in an incredible country but Australia is under threat. After the devastating bushfires of 2019 and 2020, there is no denying that climate change is already upon us and those in power continue to stall on effective action. House Is On Fire is an anthem for action but musicians have been at the forefront of climate activism for decades. To celebrate the release of House Is On Fire, I put together a playlist of some of my favourite climate songs, including the fantastic Australian songs listed below:

Emily Wurramara – Ngarrikwujeyinama 

We are living on stolen land. Acknowledgement of First Nations people and climate action go hand in hand and Indigenous voices must be heard for us to give our country the best chance at fighting climate injustice. Emily Wurramara’s beautiful song, with lyrics in her first language Anindilyakwa, describes the pain of the earth and sea when they’re not taken care of and the pain this causes us too. You can find more of Emily’s description of the song meaning here.

Bliss N Eso – Sea Is Rising

Bliss N Eso deliver Australia’s modern climate classic. It’s catchy and perfectly captures the frustrations we all have with our politicians’ inaction on climate change, showcasing a great violin motif that evokes a sense of urgency. The song shows you don’t have to be a climate scientist to know we’re in trouble.

Paul Kelly – Sleep, Australia, Sleep 

I grew up listening to Paul Kelly’s tunes, so I was incredibly excited to see him release a climate-focused track earlier this year! Intended to mimic how Australians have been lulled into a false sense of security around climate action, the song was written as a lullaby — but you won’t fall into a peaceful sleep. It’s cynical and focuses on the losses our children will face, particularly those in the animal kingdom. After the bushfire season of 2019/2020, we know how possible this is.

The Cat Empire – No Longer There

I’m a huge The Cat Empire fan, but I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t realise this song was written about climate change until going to a gig of theirs in February (when we still could). It feels like a lament but the lyrics are biting and challenge us to protect our country, and the planet, for future generations.

Rosalind – Ruins

Another Melbourne girl, I’m honoured to say I’ve performed on the same bill as Rosalind. Ruins is a great track that challenges us to look at the world we’re creating and, though we may be able to shuttle to Mars, we’re still leaving something behind. I love the comment on modern society in the chorus, with the oxymoron of telling us we’re building ruins.

Formidable Vegetable – No Such Thing As Waste 

Without a doubt this Formidable Vegetable track is the funniest on the playlist. FV describe themselves as “Permaculture funk-swing for a changing world,” but the Fremantle band have plenty of sustainability tips to share. This includes changing a car run by diesel to vegetable oil, make the slogan “reduce, reuse, repair, recycle” sound cool, and remind us that there’s “no such as waste, only stuff in the wrong place.” It’s a good reminder.

You can check out all these tracks, including House Is On Fire in the playlist below. Get inspired to take action!

Find the Climate for Change list of Australian organisations here