"Earth Song" is the third single from Michael Jackson's album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. It is a ballad that incorporates elements of blues, gospel and opera. Jackson had a long-standing history of releasing socially conscious material such as "We Are the World", "Man in the Mirror" and "Heal the World". However, "Earth Song" was the first that overtly dealt with the environment and animal welfare. The song was written and composed by Jackson; the task of production was split between Jackson, David Foster and Bill Bottrell.
The music video for "Earth Song," directed by fine art photographer Nick Brandt, was expensive and well-received; it gained a Le Film Fantastique: Best Video Award in 1996 and a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1997. The production had an environmental theme, showing images of animal cruelty, deforestation, pollution and war. Jackson and the world's people unite in a spiritual chant—"Earth Song"—which summons a force that heals the world. Using special effects, time is reversed so that life returns, war ends and the forests regrow. The video closes with a request for donations to Jackson's Heal the World Foundation. The clip was shown infrequently in the United States. The video was filmed in four geographic regions. The first location was the Amazon Rainforest, where a large part was destroyed a week after the video's completion. Natives of the region appeared in the video and were not actors. The second scene was a war zone in Croatia, with residents of the area. The third location was Tanzania, which incorporated scenes of illegal poaching and hunting into the video. No animals were harmed in the making of the "Earth Song", as the footage came from documentary archives. However, a poacher killed an elephant within a mile of the shot. The final location was in Warwick, New York, where a safe forest fire was simulated in a corn field.