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One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World - eBook
Free Press / 2009 / ePub
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Natural silence is a pristine and commonplace occurrance most Americans take for granted, and unfortunately it is fast-disappearing, even in our National Parks and conservation areas. Emmy-winning acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, has made it his mission to record and preserve natural silence in all its variety, before these locales of environmental quiet vanish completely into the rising tide of man-made noise. Making a road trip across the continent, Hempton gathers his sound equipment, and scuttles off in search of ecological regions throughout the country where no audible human noise can be detected for a span of 15 miuntes. One Square Inch of Silence recounts his quest while alerting us to the beauty we take for granted along the way. Hempton sounds an urgent environmental alarm and makes a convincing case for the preservation of natural silence.
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Gordon Hempton and John Grossmann. Free Press, $26 (272p) ISBN 9781416559085 Though many Americans may think their country abounds in places free from human interference, acoustic ecologist and professional sound recordist Hempton readily proves otherwise. Armed with sound monitoring equipment and a well-defined goalto find a spot that has no audible human noise intrusions of any kind for a minimum of 15 minutesHempton drives his VW bus from Seattle to Washington, D.C., visiting national parks and other anticipated sources of silence. Along the way, he contemplates the intricacies of his vehicle, the decline in songbird populations and the effects of noise stress in hospitals, while filling readers in on the basics of audio science. From rural Montana, and what may be the nations quietest town, to his final hike through the C&O canal, beneath Ronald Reagan National air traffic, Hemptons travelogue is filled with absorbing descriptions of the nations natural treasures, inviting readers to consider the effects of rare silence against chronic noise, and the difference a single law, to prohibit all aircraft from flying over our most pristine national parks, could make: If a loud noise can affect many square miles, then a natural place, if maintained in a 100 percent noise-free condition, will likewise affect many square miles around it.. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"This superb book by the world's finest listener will change forever the way you hear both the natural and unnatural sounds of our planet. Hempton's continent-wide search for peace and tranquility in the music of nature is a cause to which we should all rally." -- Donald Kroodsma, author of The Singing Life of Birds
"America's magnificent landscapes define us as a people and shape us as a nation -- they feed us body and soul. Conserving these lands, and the silence they afford is one of our greatest national challenges. Hempton has done us a great service by calling us to action -- saving one square inch of silence should not be a spectator sport." -- Lawrence A. Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund
"Silence is the wellspring of creation. A feast of silence is the only way into the understanding of nature. To listen to silence is to expand the spirit and cure the soul. Gordon Hempton takes us by the hand to visit this idea in his One Square Inch of Silence." -- Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest
"Visitors to America's national parks come for peace and inspiration. But as Hempton shows, this fundamental experience is increasingly rare. Hempton does a fabulous job of detailing the challenges facing the National Park Service and the politics of noise. This is an important book for all nature lovers." -- Tom Kiernan, NPCA President
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