The Sonic Activist
The sun provides power and heat… and it can also burn or debilitate us. We need water to survive… yet too much can drown us. It all comes down to balance. Sound, like these other elements, has the power to fuel or deplete us. With this understanding in mind, what is the current state of sound? What are the politics of sound? Who controls the soundspace?
Headlines from the Noise Pollution Clearing House show that sound awareness is increasing all over the planet. In China, England, India, Korea, Kenya, or New York City, people and governments are taking healthy sound space into consideration as never before. Increasing noise pollution affects the planet’s citizenry physiologically and psychologically.
Governments and industry will address the effects of noise pollution on health when sufficient economic factors arise. I predict this follows the trend of recent legal judgments against American tobacco companies. The impetus: spiraling healthcare costs for cancer-related treatments. I don’t think that noise creates cancer, but I do believe that constant exposure to noise can wreak havoc on the immune system.
Sound is ubiquitous. How we use it is our choice. Sound is an ally; it always has been. The question is whether we are ready to embrace it as such.
Think Global – Act Local
How do we exert influence over the soundscape of our communities, schools, and workplaces?
The following Internet links can point you in the right direction. The concept of sonic activism is mostly unheard of. However, through these links, you will find dedicated people from all walks of life who are concerned about the quality of sound and the effects of noise pollution… and working to do something about it.
- H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers) - www.hearnet.com
- House Ear Institute - www.hei.org
- Noise Pollution Clearinghouse - www.nonoise.org
- Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. - www.shhh.org
- World Forum for Acoustic-Ecology (WFAE) – wfae.proscenia.net
If you know of an organization that should be listed in these Sonic Activist links, please inform the author. Thanks.