Earth Day Network and Michael Jackson, two immutable forces who have spent decades crying out in defence of our planet. On April 22nd, 2015 it will be the 45th annual Earth Day, which is in my estimation one of most important annual events on the global calendar. On this day, literally hundreds of millions of people around the world unify, focusing on our planet and its perfection, but also its plight. Many of these individuals will just so happen to be fans of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson as well. Being one of them, it’s almost impossible to think of the wellbeing of our planet without reflecting on the selfless and timeless activism that Michael engaged in too.
One could argue that Michael’s ability to entertain the world through his music and dance is perhaps the most central part of his legacy. We would certainly hope he is remembered for such genius considering the nature of his impact on modern popular culture. Yet it is also important to remember that Michael was deeply passionate around other noble efforts in addition to his groundbreaking art. One such effort included bringing awareness, awakening and hope to people regarding the plight of Planet Earth…our home, our place.
Not only did Michael write and perform entire songs with the purpose of tapping into humanities empathy for our planet, but he also wrote poetry for this cause and raised vast sums of money for it as well. This wasn’t a passion that waned with time, or was done for some selfish cause, Michael genuinely cared for “Mother Earth” and felt the pain we as humans inflict on her quite acutely.
From deforestation, to climate change, to the extinction of species and overpopulation, Michael had the wellbeing of the planet and by extension its inhabitants foremost in his mind. Evidently, this shines through in his art, and in many of his public speeches and discussions also.
During the rehearsal’s for his final concert tour, Michael Jackson took the time to explain his ethos around nature and the planet in detail as evidenced in the documentary film This Is It. “I respect the secrets and magic of nature. That’s why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening, that every second, I hear, the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. I mean, that kind of stuff really bothers me. That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know. It gives some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people. I love the Planet, I love the trees. I have this thing for trees – the colors and changing of leaves. I love it. I respect those kind of things. I really feel that nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the planet. Because the planet is sick, like a fever. If we don’t fix it now, it’s at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have, where it’s like a runway train. And the times has come, This Is It. People are always saying: ‘They’ll take care of it. The government’ll–Don’t worry, they’ll–‘ ‘They’ who? It starts with us. It’s us. Or else it’ll never be done…”
On October 26th, 2009 the Estate of Michael Jackson released Michael’s first posthumous album, a companion product to the film and ill fated concert tour entitled This Is It. The album featured many of the songs Michael was to perform live on his comeback tour, but with the interesting and intriguing inclusion of one spoken word track entitled ‘Planet Earth’. This previously unreleased track is a simple, poetic piece which focuses on Michael’s love for our planet. Prior to 2009, it had only ever been engaged with by fans in its written form as published in Michael Jackson’s brilliant book, Dancing the Dream. The piece clearly demonstrates the sense of wonderment Michael must have felt when contemplating our planet, but it’s the contrast that draws the listener in. The quiet and simple vocal delivery, with subtle revelations of Michael’s emotional depth, juxtaposed against the sheer cosmic scope of the lyrical content. Planet Earth is a stroke of genius that only Michael could have delivered.
“Do you care, have you a part
In the deepest emotions of my own heart
Tender with breezes, caressing and whole
Alive with music, haunting my soul.”
So with all of this in mind, I felt it important to acknowledge Michael’s efforts on this extraordinary day, and to also do my part in bringing awareness, awakening and hope to people regarding the beauty of this planet. And so I edited together a video. My goal for this project was to create an extension to the piece Michael had already crafted. To draw on a range of source material and add musical and visual elements that add an entirely new dimension for the audience. Hopefully I’ve succeeded in my mission and have done Michael proud.
At its heart, this video is a love letter to and celebration of Planet Earth, but it also represents an alignment between these two extraordinary forces that are Michael Jackson and Earth Day Network. This network is an eco-activism phenomenon which co-ordinates an event that involves over one billion people, twenty two thousand official partners in one hundred and ninety-two countries every single year. It is the world’s largest, non-secular celebration and truly represents what’s possible when our modern world and its billions of people mobilise for a positive cause. Visit www.earthday.org to learn how you can help heal the world. Happy 45th anniversary, Earth Day!