The rising levels of noise from human activities are not just a threat to ecosystems and animal life, human health is also affected in urban and rural areas. Following are some steps we can take to minimise our “noise footprint”.
The world is full of humans hustling and bustling, and all the noise being made does not bode well for our animal friends who tend to prefer silence and tranquility. Natural ecosystems are doing what they always do and adjusting their lives away from the incessant noise. This means that vital seed-dispersers and pollinators are not doing their important work in many areas.
But humans are also being affected, according to a post in the New Yorker, noise pollution can affect humans and result in loss of hearing, hypertension, heart disease and low-birth weight.
What this means is that the human race is quite literally deafening itself into a shadow of its former glory.
Most people are aware that humans have an imprint on the environment and that reducing this “carbon footprint” is important. But, we hear very few people discussing the importance of reducing our “noise footprint”. One reason could be that the major culprits making the noise are also indispensable parts of society and economy like shipping, manufacturing and logging industries.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to be in the any of these industries to begin lowering your noise footprint and contributing to the health of your area. Here are some ways to get started.
Expand Your Awareness of Noise Pollution
Garret Keizer offers an excellent suggestion for those looking to build awareness of the noise in their regions in his book “The Unwanted Sounds of Everything We Want”. He suggests taking a few minutes to sit in your house with your eyes closed and listen to all the sounds around you. Begin by identifying the macro-noises, like sirens and traffic, as well as the micro noises, like the fridge running or washing machine washing. Depending on where you live, these lists can be very long or very short. If you want to take it even more seriously, a company like Auricl can help you conduct a noise survey in your home.
Even those living very far from the city will find that their communities are beset by the sounds of distant traffic, air traffic and even industrial or construction operations. Erring Kagge makes a frightening supposition in his book “Silence: In the Age of Noise”, stating that silence as we once knew it may be on the verge of extinction.
Ditch Loud Outdoor Activities for Quieter Choices
Once you have an inventory of the noises most prominent in your area, you can begin making an effort to cut back on your personal contributions. Some of the most raucous noises comes from motorcycles and other motor vehicles with powerful engines and special mufflers designed for ostentatious racket.
Recreational motorboats, ATVs and snowmobiles can also have a detrimental effect on the environment through their noise, even if they are well below the legal decibel range.
Biking on the other hand, is one of the most environmentally conscious methods of travel. The bicycle does not rely on fossil fuels for power and makes no more noise than the natural rustling of movement.
But, some people must drive automobiles either for convenience or pleasure. In this case, it is important to keep your cars in good conditions and the volume of your stereos at a considerate register.
Lower the Volume of Garden Work
Keeping the lawns and gardens well-manicured can also require the use of powerful tools that create considerable noise. Because gardens are also home to many birds and creatures that have become comfortable around humans, making too much racket can drive all creatures from the vicinity.
For this reason, hit is always best to apply manual power to keeping your home and garden looking and proper. Try the manual or electric lawn mower which is much quieter than the petrol-powered variety.
You may even be inspired to let the grass grow and turn your lawn and garden into a meadow full of diverse creatures and plants. The neighbours will love the silence and everyone will appreciate the lovely birds, flowers and other creatures that are attracted to the peace and quiet.