This whole website and blog was set up to explore the connection between environmental 'noise' and our mental health. We have spent years now discovering how our surroundings change the way we feel, and we have been particularly interested in how city sounds of traffic, building construction, machinery, alarms can make us feel. We have found people report feeling more settled and peaceful when they can hear the sounds of the elements, the bird song, the sound of our own human relationship with the world - like our foot steps, our breath, a sigh etc. Hearing the sounds of the elements and other creatures and each other helps us feel connected to a wider 'natural' world that has cycles and seasons and inter-connectivity. When these sounds are drowned out by machines and alarms and traffic we can feel dislocated, disconnected, afraid and feel our stress levels rising.
We are now finding that without these background sounds we can notice sounds we may not have heard for years, we can re-contact some simple sounds and appreciating them in new ways. Our homes and gardens speak to us anew. Of what do they speak? What are you hearing that is new during this time?
For many people, it is reassuring to hear the sound of city with all of its machine sounds and general hub-bub in the background. It gives a sense of 'everything being okay out there, even if things don't feel okay internally.
There is an inherent difference in these two stances. Yet both seem to be true. Perhaps we need both, some semblance of normality and some opportunity to connect with the 'natural' world including all of its elements, weather systems, bird song, creatures scuttling about and human laughter and song. For this we might live and work in the city but escape to the countryside at the weekends, holiday near the coast and 'get away from it all' for a while...
Right now, there is no sound of business of as usual wherever we live and some people are beginning to ask whether we can even afford 'business as usual' anymore, and perhaps it is time to thing and act differently. What might this mean? What does it mean to you?
Here are some links exploring these themes:
A fabulous article documenting the four ways the virus is changing the environment:
The Atlantic: This Pandemic is Turning the Natural World Upside Down
Jez riley French and Phoebe riley Law have designed a new score for listening for anyone who wants to use this approach to their daily walks and notice how things are changing...:
Entice New Reality
#stayhomesounds - find out what sounds people are discovering and recording as they stay at home
Try typing 'business as usual is not an option any more' into google and see what you find...
See what Greenpeace are saying about the recovery from Covid19 could see measures could be part of the solution to the current climate crisis