Maybe what climate change needs is a great pop song

Giant marches are great, but they only last for a few hours and rely on the news media for coverage. If a song’s a hit, you can’t get rid of it. You can’t argue with it. And if the melody gets stuck in your head, the words will eventually catch up and sink in.

The right song might help create a generation committed to fighting for and thinking up smarter ways of generating electricity and responsibly managing the Earth’s resources. Or at least a generation that overwhelmingly believes human-influenced climate change is a real thing and a real threat. The politics are tricky, but not much more fraught than Soviet relations in the time of Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Leonid Brezhnev, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

The right song for climate change shouldn’t be preachy, and it has to have the right messenger. You may think lute-playing, soft-rocking Sting was a poor choice for Cold War truth-telling, but “Russians” is from Sting’s first post-Police album, and The Police’s last album, Synchronicity (1983), is one of the great rock albums of the 20th century. In 1985, Sting had street cred, and not much political baggage.