Earth is Silent

Aug 24, 2016 | written by:

The wind rustling through the leaves, the sound of rain, the waves crashing against the rocks, the chirping of birds, the song of cicadas, the roar of the storm. «If we do not do anything within the next ten years, the silence of nature is in danger of disappearing suffocated by the noise of man».

The American ecologist Gordon Hempton, who has traveled for 35 years around the world with microphone in hand in search of spaces non-infested by man-made sounds, raises the alarm. A really poetic project even if the method for determining the zones of silence on earth is absolutely scientific. Gordon is not in search of the perfect interstellar silence, but he looks for an environment that does not contain the deafening noise produced by humans: the engine rumbles, jingle from the shopping center, banks and elevators.

So, what is the silence mentioned by the American scientist? Our ear also perceives the noise as far away as twenty kilometers, and according to his stric measurement, 'silence' means the absence of human sounds at dawn, for at least 15 consecutive minutes, and in big spaces, at least 3000 square kilometers. The seeker of 'natural' sounds and silence, says he has found, now, only about fifty of environments not contaminated by human noises, a dozen in North America, anyone in Europe, no one in France. In his search he pre-selects areas away from roads, air corridors, industrial plants and he analyzes them with microphones, but his list gets shorter every year because to delete a zone from the ones considered quiet enough passage of air, the noise of the Apecar or a cough.

For now still stand, among others, the Hoh Rainforest in Washington, the Grasslands National Park in Canada, the Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. That's why Hempton has created in the United States a sanctuary of silence, the Olympic National Park in Washington State, one of the last silent places of the earth marked by a red stone on the trunk of musk, which symbolizes the few square inches of silence in which he works to protect. Some planes continue to fly over the park, but are rare: the ecologist sent to airlines the recordings of the noise produced by the aircraft, and some have already agreed to move the flight paths.

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