Not long ago I visited a friend in the city and we spent a lovely evening sitting outside on her balcony soaking up the last warmth of summer… I listened to all the sounds around us. A baby crying, a siren on the main road, voices, cars, the distant sound of a festival in the city centre. It was a change for me. And an interesting reminder too; I’ve been living out in the country for 8 years now, and there was something I missed while sitting there… a sound that is so normal in our garden that I hardly notice it any more… until it is removed: the crickets.
“…our ears tell us that the whisper of every leaf and creature speaks to the natural sources of our lives, which indeed may hold the secrets of love for all things, especially our own humanity…”
Bernie Krause made a name for himself in the music industry back in the 60s, when the synthesizer was still young and electronic sound was new and exciting. But later he turned his talent to recording the sounds of nature – including many sounds that are slowly vanishing – from all over the world. Some of these recordings are in museums, others have been used in films. They are living archives of precious habitats. Wikipedia says “… it is now estimated that over half of these habitats have been destroyed or so compromised by human intervention that Krause’s recordings are all that is left of their original bioacoustic density and diversity.”
His website is fascinating and definitely worth a look at: Wild Sanctuary
I found his talk on TED Talks absolutely amazing. I was particularly stunned when Mr Krause showed us how a habitat appears visually completely undisturbed after forestry work… but our eyes can deceive us…
“careful listening gives us incredibly valuable tools by which to evaluate the health of a habitat across the entire spectrum of life”
His recordings and his work seek to exhibit the impact of resource extraction, human noise and habitat destruction.
Listen to the talk. It will make you listen more carefully next time you go outdoors, I’m sure.