Gregory O'Drobinak [naturerecordists] wrote:
> Perhaps Gordon Hempton has some ideas ideas on this subject that
> would be useful.
> But I don't think that governments are much interested in the
> 'aesthetics' of soundscapes, much less interested in improving them.
> They are much more interested in keeping political turmoil to a
> minimum (or not), holding on to their power over people and raking in
> money from their cronies.
> The 'feeds' mentioned below would have to be monitored with
> calibrated equipment and judged by competent experts in order for
> there to be any validity for enforcement.
> Bernie Krause and many others have been toiling for many years to do
> the scientific work so that soundscape preservation can be taken
> You need scientific evidence to make and enforce laws and then
> monitor the conditions to make improvements.
> But this is a slow process.
> IMHO, the only true force for improving the fate of these soundscapes
> is educating all people so that they want to make a difference.
> This is a very difficult thing to do. How do you raise the general
> consciousness of the world to want to higher quality soundscapes?
> Most adults have many things that are higher on their list of
> priorities, but perhaps children are the key.
> They love to learn new things (generally) and the idea of quality
> soundscapes could be rolled into their curricula, or appended as
> extra-curricular activities.
> I have been active in a number of soundwalks in the Dunes National
> Lakeshore over the last few years and it is the children that seem
> the most captivated by the sounds and the environment. Children are
> receptive to environmental education, but you need to do this on a
> grand scale. How do we do this?
> I do personally believe that for adults to embrace any concept of
> quality natural soundscapes, they must first embrace the concepts of
> quietude/peacefulness and the beauty of nature itself, without
> Mixing in a good dose of ecological preservation would help, but if
> one doesn't have a proper mindfulness, then this will not be so
> Note that Gordon Hempton's approach is much in line with this. His
> idea is that active listeners will be motivated to help preserve
> natural silence, the key ingredient to improving these soundscapes.
> For example, when I am trying to record in the Dunes National
> Lakeshore east of where I live, there can be many motorcycles less
> than one half mile of my rig.
> One of the roads there goes right through the Great Marsh. Do we move
> the roads or restrict the type of motor vehicle traffic?
> I don't think that is feasible, in general.
> But if the owner of that loud Harley thought to himself "I might be
> disturbing people in that natural place, so I will route my path two
> miles south", we are getting somewhere.
> But I don't see that happening soon. Please forgive my pessimism.
> Soundscape maps are a useful tool for expanding the awareness of
> natural places on the earth, but they are just one aspect of a much
> larger requirement for solving this dilemma.
> Talk to all of the people that you know to expand their consciousness
> of nature and share your recordings with them.
> Send out emails, post to Facebook or Tweet out the info to engage
> people to go to Hempton's and Krause's websites for listening and
> learning about nature and sound.
> Organize public concerts of soundscapes and have a Q&A session
> afterwards to address the environmental impact of anthrophony in
> these soundscapes.
> I have done this with other colleagues at the Douglas Environmental
> Education center in the Dunes National Lakeshore several times.
> People are very impressed and engaged when surrounded by 4 channels
> of nature sounds culled from our field recordings.
> While this 'concert' is not just one environment, but many
> soundscapes overlaid as a phonographic collage, it gets the point
> All of these activities need to be done frequently with many people
> in order for this message to 'stick' in their minds.
>>> Governing our personal actions to preserve natural soundscapes must
>>> become as common a reflex action as recycling our trash.<<
> There, I've said it.
> Getting all world governments to act on will be most difficult.
> But as the saying goes, think globally, act locally.
I'm afraid I share your pessimism. I fear that many of today's young peopl=
have suffered permanent hearing damage by the time they are teenagers. The
local youths usually install enormous amplifiers and speakers in their cars=
The level of sound those things generate is objectionable at a distance of =
mile, and deafening at a hundred yards. I can't imagine what it is like in=
the car! I have only one neighbor nearer than a quarter mile. When the lo=
youths are visiting, the cars are left outside, rap music turned up to maxi=
volume, and the thunderous bass shakes my whole house (a solid frame house =
60 years old). This goes on typically until 3 a.m. or later, making sleep
The young folks I know (I have some of them working in my office) are
accompanied by continuous noise and don't seem to imagine what life would b=
like without at least a radio running in the background. I think they feel
naked without anthropogenic noise. They tone it down in the office out of
deference to me (the boss, 82 years old, with tinnitus, but still probably
hearing better than they do) but when on their own it is much louder. At
parties and rock concerts the sound level is higher still, AFAIK high enoug=
cause permanent hearing damage fairly quickly.
I am not (or at least not yet <G>) a nature recordist, but I am a zoologist=
has spent a lot of time outdoors in all kinds of environments in the U.S.,
Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. In the course of an intensi=
study of driver-ant ecology and behavior in Nigeria, I spent many many hour=
African forests at night, locating raiding ant swarms - by sound <G>.
John E. Burchard, Ph.D.
Tepe Gawra Salukis
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