by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
Neel Dhanesha has written a lovely article in Vox where he interviewed University of the South biology professor David Haskell about his new book Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction. It should be read by all.
I had never heard of Haskell, but I should have. His first book, The Forest Unseen was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
In the interview, Dhanesha discuses the history on noise on the earth and the problems with too much noise now.
One point Haskell makes is that the oceans are a noise hell for the fishes and marine mammals (and probably invertebrates and plankton, too) who live in it. Cities may be noisy, but the noise has meaning. Propeller noise, or noise from air cannons or explosive charges used for underwater mapping and resource detection, merely kills animals near the noise source, drive others away, and interfere with detection of food or prey and communication needed for hunting, mating, or raising young.
Haskell also discusses the important connection between flowering plants and sound.
The article covers too much material to summarize here. You’re going to have to read it for yourself!