Songs of Prescience: Canadian Musical Activism in Climate Breakdown


  • Scott Stoneman Mount Saint Vincent University



land-based music pedagogy, environmental communication and the climate emergency, genre and the class politics of taste


The possibility of using music as a method of communicating the reality of the climate emergency has become an increasingly popular object of scholarly analysis. At a time when we need to collectively act with extreme urgency to militate against a future of climate collapse, music provides a generative and convincing counterpoint to prevalent scientific forms of environmental communication. This article argues that music which grows out of place-based engagement with ecocide has a unique capacity to serve the purpose of communicating the sensoria of climate breakdown. I focus on the songs, albums, and performances that constitute climate music in Canada and theorize the effects of mediated and immediate experiences of live performance, as well as the virtual and physical media available for consuming music today. I contend that a musical language for dealing with deeply unsettled states of being in the age of fossil capitalism has the capacity to positively impact the struggle for climate justice.

Author Biography

Scott Stoneman, Mount Saint Vincent University

Scott Stoneman (he/him) teaches in the Department of Communication Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Kjipuktuk (Halifax). He is the host of the Pretty Heady Stuff podcast, which has included guests such as Raj Patel, Andreas Malm, El Jones, Judith Butler, K. Wayne Yang, Anna Tsing and many others. He's also the co-author of the forthcoming book Widening Scripts: Cultivating Feminist Care in Academic Labor. 


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