parker's stuff

Bernie Krause: The voice of the natural world →

Anyone who knows me well will say how I perceive much of the world through sound. Nothing brings me greater joy than visiting the heart of Pennsylvania’s deep forests and hearing the symphony. Nothing brings me greater frustration and anxiety than a loud construction vehicle driving by me as I walk down the street. I’m quite sound-sensitive, you might say.

Thus, Bernie Krause’s recordings of the world’s soundscapes piqued my interest. From gorgeous symphonies of old growth forests, to the din of cities, Krause explains his life’s work. Through thousands of hours of recording over nearly half a century, Krause has produced wonderful soundscapes. He defines soundscapes as the combination of a geophony, biophony, and anthrophony.

These soundscapes provide more than just a beautiful listening experience. They also provide a unique way of measuring the health of a habitat. He describes a case where he made a recording of an older forest before a logging company came through and did some selective logging. Under the same conditions exactly one year later, he made another recording. The difference is stark. Many of the sounds in the biophony that had been present the year prior were gone. It was obvious that the ecosystem had suffered significant damage, even while the forest had not changed much visually.

Krause’s talk will inspire you to protect what little habitat is left in the world, untouched by man’s desire to squeeze economic value out of every inch of this great world we all inhabit.