Earth Day – Sing for the Trees

Our latest guest blog comes from the lady that is inspiring thousands of people across the world to unite their voices in song for the trees that bring so much life to our world. Susan Hale tells you how to get involved in this simple act of thanks, as part of the Earth Day activities on April 22…

Image: Nina Winge

Mother and daughter singing in Sweden

“All across the world people are singing again as a way to use their voices to recharge the earth. People are singing to create awareness and galvanize action. The Civil Rights Movement is a historical example of the power of song to create change. Singing is part of the joy of being human, of connecting us with ancient traditions and reminding us that we all are part of the chorus of life.

People sing for many reasons. Our ancestors sang for the earth. For the Aborigines of Australia the Earth is conceived of as a song map, features in the landscape are part of a song line to be sung. Many western people have forgotten that the Earth is a conscious responsive being. We are waking up, remembering that our voices can be used directly to send healing to the earth. The idea of enchanting the land is not a new one. Indigenous people have always sung as a way to honour and thank the land, sending prayers for rain, crops, and the return of animals. In the apple counties of Somerset, Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford, the community gets together to wassail, toasting the apple trees in thanks for their fruit.

With this in mind I created a worldwide event in 2010 to honour trees with song. Travelling for a full year in 2007, I noticed that many trees were dying in the places I visited. I woke up one morning with an idea and created an event on Facebook. Initially I wondered if anyone would resonate with the idea. But soon thousands of people began to sign up. Many wrote that they thought they were the only ones who went out and sang to trees. One man who sang for his favourite trees on that first earth Day – Sing for the Trees is now my husband. Our story is told in more depth on Woodland Trust’s Valentines Day Blog.

Image: Susan Hale

Native American prayer tree – The Cabin Path, Atlanta, US (2010)

Earth Day – Sing for the Trees is now an annual global event in its fourth year. The idea is simple. Sing at noon wherever you are on the planet to your favourite trees, creating a global perpetual song wave circling the earth. Since its creation in 2010, over 5,000 people in 40 countries have been involved in singing to trees they love. A group of young children in Switzerland sang for the trees in their local forest. Children sang at a Native American prayer tree in the woods near Atlanta, Georgia. Peace marchers sang at the Nevada test site where the first nuclear bomb was exploded. They sang for the Joshua trees while walking through the parched land. The image of the wasteland that western industrial society has created is being countered by thousands of people who are singing for the earth.

My focus this year will be to sing for the ash trees due to ash dieback from Chalara fraxinea affecting many of the trees in the United Kingdom. I will host a Malvern event on April 22 at 10:30 for 11 at the Westminster Spout for a pilgrimage to honour the Ash tree. We will walk across the hills through a Beech grove to Saint Anne’s Well and back again singing for the Ashs and other trees on the walk. We will also be planting a tree at 4:30 at the Colwall Community. Forest.

To join the global Love Song for our Trees go to Facebook events page. The idea is simple, on Earth Day (April 22) sing at noon for the trees you love!

What do you sing? There are many songs about trees from The Ash Grove and Linden Lee to simple chants. Here is one I created that is easy to learn.

Image: David Johnson

Singing to the damaged holy thorn tree, Glastonbury, UK (2011)

The vowel sound “AH” is a sound that in most cultures around in the world is connected to the heart. You can sound “AH” on any tone, placing one hand on your heart and another on the tree you are singing for. Thank your tree for all it provides: oxygen, comfort, beauty, shelter, fruit, play, a hiding place, a home to birds, insects and animals. Imagine it as radiate and healthy.

I’ve worked as a music therapist and voice coach for many people who feel like they can’t sing. If that is you try anyway. You can always whisper “Thank You”. What matters is our intentions to give thanks to our beautiful trees to keep them safe and healthy for future generations.

For more information contact Susan

Susan Hale, Sing for the Trees inspirer

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About Kay Haw

Assistant Conservation Adviser, Woodland Trust. Nature is my passion, especially woods and trees which are just amazing elements of life. One day (soon) I hope we humans learn to work in harmony with Mother Earth.
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5 Responses to Earth Day – Sing for the Trees

  1. Julie Taylor says:

    I was thinking about Susan’s Sing for the Trees on Earth Day again this morning … today I am thinking perhaps in Ireland people should be singing that old hymn “Fight the good fight …” as they seek to protect their forests from being sold off by the Irish government. The Woodland League in Ireland are campaigning to Save Ireland’s Forests – you can find further info and their petition on http://www.woodlandleague.org/

  2. Reblogged this on maureenjenner and commented:
    Got this in my post-box; definitely one to send on to as many as possible.

  3. Thank you. I love the idea and will reblog this too.

  4. Julie Taylor says:

    lovely to read something positive and inspiring in the morning 🙂 Thank you Susan.

  5. I love this idea … what a great idea! It’ll truly be a joyful noise!

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