Ear to the Ground
Natural quiet is a rapidly disappearing resource. According to acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton, there are only seven or eight naturally quiet places — defined as where the sounds of nature are unbroken for intervals of at least 15 minutes during daylight hours — left in the United States. None exist in Europe anymore. But if you travel far enough to remote corners of the Earth, and listen carefully enough, you can still find them.
Acoustic ecology studies were established in the 1960s by naturalist R. Murray Schafer and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia as an attempt to define the relationship between humans and their environment, as mediated through sound. With a focus that spans both science and art, the continuum of acoustic ecology often attracts individuals who are part researcher, part composer, and part adventurer.