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Silence: An endangered commodity

By Gary Bogue
Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 7:07 am in Silence, Sound.

Silence. Photo by Flickr user Dammit Jack used under a Creative Commons License.
silence Dammit Jack

Below is an excerpt from the weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity. It’s about silence … and the growing lack of same.

Think about it. When was the last time you heard silence? Where were you? What were you doing? Why was it silent? Did you enjoy it? Why?

The sound of one hand clapping. Can you hear it? /Gary

Silence. Photo by Flickr user josh.liba used under a Creative Commons License.
silence josh.liba

From Center for Biological Diversity’s E-newsletter, Feb. 11:
According to audio ecologist Gordon Hempton, silence isn’t necessarily noiseless — it’s simply “the complete absence of all audible mechanical vibrations . . . the presence of everything, undisturbed.” But it’s rapidly becoming too much to ask for. In fact, Hempton says, there are fewer than a dozen sizable sites of silence remaining in the United States, and none in Europe.

“Even in our national parks today,” says Hempton, “despite laws to protect them, you are much more likely to be hearing noise pollution, particularly overhead aircraft, than you are to be hearing only native sounds of the land.”

Why does silence matter? Through it, “we are given the opportunity to not only heal but discover something incredible — the presence of life, interwoven! . . . And like all music, good or bad, it affects us deeply.”

Read more in Newsweek

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