Spring has sprung and, locally, the human capacity to create even more noise than usual is in full swing.
Lately, I have recorded on my phone a plague of noises generated by people and their loud, intrusive tools, be it an iPod and speakers aboard a stand-up-paddleboard floating down the Wye, leaf blowers, lawnmowers, and mulchers sounding their destructiveness and scaring all the birds from the trees and fish from their shaded retreats under the riverbanks, or even the abominable racket made at the local recycling yard next door to a so-called off-set ecological site at the new Skylon Park, Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford (see below).
I know other humans have found it a profound nuisance, more, wholly detrimental to their overall wellbeing.
Whether these noises are short, sharp and ugly, or long drawn-out oppressions, like traffic noise in cities, they will be creating acute or chronic pain and distress in proximate interconnected communities, human and teresapien.
Modes of transport are some of the worst culprits, air, land, and sea. But music can be intrusive too, played loudly or inappropriately in nature, as well as the more obvious terrestrial building and landscaping noises that are created at every moment, in daylight at least. Industrial farmers and foresters are by no means innocent bystanders!
And the internal combustion engine at sea and on navigable rivers has wreaked havoc in the form of “noise pollution” on aquatic wildlife.
We know humans and some animals may attempt to adapt. Think of the louder birdsong recorded in urban areas, or cetaceans and their prey moving away from shipping lanes or active military zones due to the impact on their sonar senses, but at what ecological cost? Mass strandings are real and incredibly harmful.
The pain is both individual and collective. At global scale, it is nothing short of an evolutionary force, and not for the good. It’s time to count Anthrophonalgia as a key manifestation of the ongoing Sixth Extinction Event, the worst of which will be an awful silence, for sure.
Anthropophony – noise emanating from humans and their tools (Drs. Stuart Gage and Bernie Krause) often shortened to Anthrophony.
Algia – general medical suffix for pain.
This particular pain and distress is not limited to the physical, but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual. We know that such distress can lead to the lowering of immunity, and other perturbations such as anger and rage that can lead to violence instigated upon others.
We talk so frequently about noise pollution, but very little is done about it. Perhaps naming the pain and distress it causes might just help in the resistance against it.
Anthrophonalgia – pain and distress caused by human noise, including vibrations, either naturally or by the tools humans use.
I’ve suffered myself, as have countless humans and nearly all interconnected species within our one biosphere. Let it end, for goodness sake, now.
Warning: Foul language. Legitimate, I feel.