One Man’s Quest for Quiet — with Gordon Hempton

One Man’s Quest for Quiet — with Gordon Hempton
An American Robin / Getty Images
I was listening to an American robin hear its own voice clearly for the first time.

Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton has circled the globe three times in pursuit of Earth’s rarest sounds. His sound portraits record quickly vanishing natural soundscapes. In this episode he joins New Lines’ Rasha Elass to talk about the much-underappreciated importance of quiet.

Noise pollution is more than just an annoyance, he explains. The stress that constant exposure to noise puts on the human body is detrimental to public health and even contributes to premature deaths. Its effect on the natural environment is no less harmful.

But at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, human noise pollution suddenly subsided. That brief but profound period of respite, he says, can teach us a lot about our world.

Produced by Joshua Martin

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