Is Silence Going Extinct?
By Cliff Eames, Board Member, Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
Is Silence Going Extinct? The good news is that this disturbing question was asked in a recent feature article of the same name in the online edition of the influential New York Times Magazine (called
Whisper of the Wild in the print edition) . Concerns about maintaining and restoring natural sounds and natural quiet for the benefit of both people and wildlife are going mainstream. The Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition is delighted. Natural sound, author Kim Tingley says, is an “intangible, invisible and–increasingly–endangered
resource.” Bryan Pijanowski, an ecologist at Purdue University, notes that “the engineless hour is all but extinct.”
This article should be of special interest to Alaskans since it focuses on Davyd Betchkal’s soundscape research in Denali National Park and Preserve. But at the same time it explores the increasing worldwide evidence of the damaging effects on wildlife of artificial human- generated noise. The “human din…is imperiling habitat–in Denali as well as wilderness areas around the world–as surely as a bulldozer or oil spill.” Increasing interest in these issues has led to “a new field of science: soundscape ecology.”
To learn more about the the effects on wildlife of humankind’s din–and concerns about noise dating back as long ago as 3000 B.C., in the epic of Gilgamesh–click on http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/magazine/is-silence-going-extinct.html?pagewanted=all