earth day

Finding a Moment of Reflection: Celebrating Earth Day

By Michelle Medina Villalon

Earth Day is an excellent time to slow down our hurried pace of life and reflect on the beauty of the natural world. Often, listeners tell us how tuning into WDAV helps them press pause on their busy schedules and find a moment to simply “be” while enjoying all that classical music has to offer. This Earth Day, why not do both? Here are some ways to celebrate our wonderful planet and the music we love:

Make time for mindfulness

“Mindfulness” has become a buzzword for a relatively simple act of self-care. It’s about being present, even if for a couple minutes, by paying attention to your surroundings. What is a place that brings you peace and joy? Maybe it’s a local park or sitting on your front porch drinking coffee. I personally love the view outside my office window, where I can see squirrels darting about the trees. Today, find a spot where you can sit and watch the ordinary wonder of nature, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds. 

Can’t find time to go outside, or need some lovely music to accompany your mindful moment? Check out this piece!

From the Bohemian Forest: Silent Woods – Antonín Dvořák

Video: From the Bohemian Forest: Silent Woods – Antonín Dvořák

Take a walk

What better way to fully immerse yourself in nature than with a stroll or hike? Walking is an excellent way to exercise, lower your blood pressure, and even get better sleep. Grab your comfiest pair of tennis shoes, maybe a fluffy friend, and head over to your favorite walking trail! WDAV recently created a playlist perfect for strolling, so make sure to take it along.

Indulge your artistic side

Maybe you need a moment of inspiration this Earth Day. Studies show that taking even a few minutes to enjoy nature can help improve focus and spark creativity. Take today to shake off that writer’s block or see ideas in a new light by taking whatever your artistic medium may be outside! Who knows? The sky, trees, or birds might just be the beginning of your next masterpiece.

Need some classical pieces to underscore your creative genius? These will do the trick:

Imagenes – Candelario Huizar

Video: Huizar: Imágenes – Alondra de la Parra, Mi Alma Mexicana

Soirees Musicales – Clara Schumann

Video: JingCi Liu plays Soirées Musicales, Op.6 by Clara Schumann (1819–1896)

In a Landscape – John Cage

Video: John Cage – In A Landscape

Learn about ways to conserve our planet

It is important to maintain a personal and emotional connection to our planet every day, not just Earth Day. If you’d like to learn more about protecting Earth’s natural resources, here are some organizations to be aware of. We’ve also included pieces that illustrate the importance of environmental advocacy through music.

World Wildlife Fund: The WWF collaborates with local communities to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

Mass for the Endangered – Sarah Kirkland Snider

Inspired by a traditional Catholic mass and the urgency behind climate advocacy, Composer Sarah Kirkland Snider teamed up with poet/librettist Nathaniel Bellows to create this piece that “take[s] the Mass’s musical modes of spiritual contemplation and apply them to concern for non-human life.”

Video: Sarah Kirkland Snider – Credo

Clean Air Task Force: Based in the US, the CATF has been working to reduce air pollution from carbon dioxide emissions since its founding in 1996.

The Lost Birds – Christopher Tin

This “extinction elegy” memorializes birds that have already been lost to extinction. Tin uses the words of 19th century poets to pinpoint the dangers that began with the Industrial Revolution. This piece serves as both a celebration of the birds humanity has lost and a warning for future generations.

Video: Christopher Tin, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Flocks a Mile Wide (Visualizer)

DEPLOY/US: DEPLOY/US is a nonpartisan convener, funder, and accelerator of climate leadership.

The Rising Sea Symphony – Kieran Brunt

This piece travels the world, taking its listener to experience the effects of climate change from Ghana to Norway. It combines electronic music, field recordings, words and vocals, and orchestral instruments to create a symphony that seeks to call audiences to action.

Listen to “The Rising Sea Symphony” on BBC.