Gordon Hempton’s Incredible Campaign for Quiet
The acoustic ecologist, who has recorded natural environments around the world, discusses how all species can benefit from a lack of noise.
May 5, 2022
7 minute read
Gordon Hempton thinks about the Earth as a “solar-powered jukebox.” The acoustic ecologist, author, and Emmy award–winning sound recordist has spent more than four decades recording nature’s audible physical qualities—many so fundamental, such as a sunrise or rain falling in a forest, that we often fail to notice them. Hempton’s sonic portraits, made in remote regions around the world, capture sounds as varied as the locations themselves: He has recorded inside Sitka spruce logs in the Pacific Northwest, amid thunder in Southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert, and at dawn breaking across six continents. Hempton sees his work, as he puts it, as “an invitation to feel,” where soundscapes can give rise to illumination, awe, and personal growth.
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