As the air is polluted so is our breath. Trees are brilliant at cleaning and regulating the air, some city trees even absorb pollution from cars into their bark and then let it fall from their bodies. Unfortunately trees can still suffer greatly from toxic chemicals and dust from cars and planes polluting their microclimates as makes it hard to regulate the air, to breathe.
This composition explores the relationship between air pollution and breath through the noises and silences that make it audible to us. Trees can actually absorb noise pollution and dampen the sounds of cars, planes and drilling, sounds that are harmful to our bodies when consistently exposed to it. In 2019 the World Health Organisation recognised noise pollution as one of the biggest environmental health risks in Europe. The voices of our companion species are being drowned out by mass industrial noise, causing fertility problems and stress related health issues. If we can’t hear the voices of the more-than-human do we begin to forget they exist? Research has shown that if humans can’t hear bird song our bodies react with high levels of stress, if humans were still living in forests then the absence of bird song would suggest a nearby predator. Our bodies are haunted by the forest, we are still full of the presence of others. One single tree can not only home multiple resting places or nests for local birds but also clean the air and the soil, dampen the noise, home thousands of insects and create shade for animals.