Main content

4: Plants and Insects

Verity Sharp listens to how the world’s musicians, sound artists and poets are responding to the loss of species.

In the last year, the scale of the climate and wildlife crises has been laid bare by scientists around the globe. A frightening number of species are falling silent as a result. How are the world’s musicians, sound artists and poets responding?

The series concludes with the biggest leap - into the scarcely imaginable soundworld of pondweed, ants and the interior of tree trunks. If we could get inside these soundscapes, how might our perspective on the world change?

Verity Sharp listens to how the sounds of ants on the Amazon forest floor are transformed into music for drum ensemble, and considers whether we could ever grow to love the sound of pondweed photosynthesising. The symbolism of trees makes them easier to connect with and we hear tales of spirits and persecution in southern Mexico, as well as folk music inspired by threatened wildflowers much closer to home.

Featuring Jez riley French, Lisa Schonberg, Mikeas Sanchez and Janie Mitchell.

Produced by Chris Elcombe
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Additional material:
Horacio Franco - ‘Diálogo entre flautas’ from Lienzos de viento (Puertarbor Records
Baka chanting courtesy of Greenpeace Africa and Swiri Milsheron Nche
Photo © Pheobe riley Law

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Tue 1 Sep 2020 15:30

More episodes



Coming soon

See all episodes from The Last Songs of Gaia


  • Tue 14 Jul 2020 11:30
  • Tue 1 Sep 2020 15:30

Slow Radio

Slow Radio

Tune in, drop out. It's time to go slow.