The God of Silence Speaks Up
By Katherine LaGrave
Posted October 13, 2020
Gordon Hempton has spent the past 30 years warning people about the consequences of the disappearance of natural quiet on Earth, which he calls a “solar-powered jukebox.” And now that the world is a little less noisy, he’s asking us, once again, to listen.
By the time you finish reading the end of this sentence, you will most likely have been interrupted by a sound—some scrape, some snarl, a click, clock, clack. A plane may buzz overhead. A microwave may beep, or your phone may ring. That damn doorbell. That damn dishwasher. How do I know this? Because Gordon Hempton says so. How does Gordon Hempton know this? Because for the past 37 years, the acoustic ecologist has been thinking about noise and listening and doing what some may think unthinkable, unimportant in a world with climate change and animal extinction and a planet that keeps getting hotter: trying to save quiet. By now, you may be wondering why you should care. Hempton, for his part, is so glad you asked. More…