When you ask people what they like about nature, some will say it is the clean air that you can breathe, others will mention the incredible colors on display, many will talk about the peaceful tranquility that nature offers. Leaving the bustling city behind and heading to the outdoors can provide a serene stillness that nothing in our busy lives can come close to. However, it is becoming increasingly hard to find. Too often now we set out on the hunt for peace and quiet only to find some form of noise pollution. Something must be done.
Whether it is going to a secluded beach only to hear jet skis roaring across the water, or an isolated hike to hear a loud ringtone echo out across the park, it is increasingly difficult to escape from the noise. Even the wilderness which was once able to boast of the quiet solitude it offered now struggles to deal with some form of noise pollution invading. John Muir, the man who is famed for his efforts in preserving natural wilderness spots in the United States, famously said: “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness”. Today John would surely be a little annoyed if he went trekking through a national park to find the constant blare of cars, phones, and people.
All hope is not lost though. One organization has been set up with the aim of prioritizing the quiet once again. The mission statement of the company is the preservation of quiet for the benefit of all life. The company has highlighted numerous studies that show noise is becoming an increasing problem. According to the US Department of Transport, 97% of America is now exposed to noise from either aviation or highways. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a quiet space.
There are many studies that show how damaging noise is too. Noise pollution causes heart disease, tension, sleep issues, hearing issues, and irritation. Overall it can reduce your mental and physical health. In an effort to reclaim some of the quiet the company has now founded the first international quiet wilderness park. On April 14th, 2019 the park became recognized as the first official wilderness quiet park. Whether this is a marketing ploy or a sign of changing times is of yet unclear. At the moment at least, it appears to be a positive step.
The park has no transport routes, there are no commercial or residential operations in place. Quiet is being preserved. The move is one that the company hopes to set off a chain-link across parks around the world. They have identified hundreds of potential quiet parks internationally that they believe could become places that protect the quiet. Indeed the organization hopes to branch out into trails, hotels, and potentially entire communities.
The aims of the company appear to be genuine, they are trying to do something good for the world. They are a registered non-profit charitable organization with a clear goal and a clear path to achieving that goal. If you are someone who seeks out the quiet we recommend you visit the first quiet park in the world. It is located along the Zabalo River in Ecuador. While it is a quiet sanctuary, it is anything but quiet. You will hear the roaring howler monkeys, the buzzing insects, the variety of birdsongs, and the bubbling river.
The movement to preserve the quiet in life is a great thing but it is a worrying sign of how things we once took for granted are now things that need to be protected. While the modern pace of life brings about many benefits there are clearly costs involved as well. Hopefully, we can learn to evolve and move forward as a planet in a more balanced way.