Location: USA, South Africa, Ecuador, Taiwan
If you’re one of the many people noticing the lilt of birdsong more profoundly these days (or perhaps even for the first time at all), you’re not alone. Everywhere from the Upper West Side to Wuhan, the phenomenon of all this suddenly more audible tweeting-in-the-wild is one of the commonly cited bright spots in the world right now.And for one acoustic ecologist who has circled the globe three times researching and recording some of the world’s most beautiful natural soundtracks, there’s hope that when leisure travel enters our lives again, people might open their ears to sonic experiences while enjoying scenic ones, too.
“The longer we listen, the more we relax,” says Gordon Hempton, co-founder of Quiet Parks International, an organization that aims to certify and preserve truly quiet spaces within reach of everyone on earth (including in urban areas).Last year, the group awarded its first Quiet Wilderness Parks designation to the Zabalo River in Ecuador. And Taiwan’s Yangmingshan National Park, in northern Taipei, will be officially announced as the first Urban Quiet Park and Quiet Trail during a ceremony on June 5. QPI plans to certify roughly 50 more parks throughout the world over the next decade, according to Hempton.”We have a birthright to quiet,” he says, “And we’ve gotten a teaser of it during this lockdown.”