Gordon Hempton is an acoustic ecologist who has spent over thirty years taking recordings of steadily vanishing natural soundscapes. Quiet places on earth are in danger of disappearing, a message that Hempton brought home in 2010 by marking one square inch of quiet space in Washington's Olympic National Park with a small red rock. His work was featured in a documentary entitled "Soundtracker" that same year. Since he started recording, he's found fewer and fewer quiet places in the United States and abroad, signaling an increase in noise pollution and decrease in animal populations. In this video, Hempton talks about his life's work and what it takes to find and preserve just one square inch of silence.

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  • Priscilla Pittman

    The need for quiet and the joy of nature sounds

  • Indira Iyer

    Silence is the sacred backdrop where you can here the voice of your soul reverberate with all this is. So inspired and grateful for Hampton's commitment and passion- one square inch is a small silent haven that perhaps holds the peace of the universe.

  • Allan

    Hampton's commitment to what is 100% natural. Nature has a voice.

  • Lourens

    Yes indeed, why the background music? The irony of our modern day living: The was a big billboard next to a highway that you could not miss. It said; come live where the eagles soar. It was a beautiful rocky landscape with hills and bush and grassland, and there were eagles soaring high in the sky. They were going to develop it into a high class village for the rich. They built their double storied luxury houses ... and now there is no eagle in sight. It is so sad.

  • Patrick Watters

    ah Betty, but when the music stops what do you hear . . . only nature }:-) ❤️👌🏼 Hoofnote: My sons and I recently experienced such silence and solitude at 9000 feet in the Mokolumne Wilderness. Yet, even there the peace was interrupted by aircraft occasionally flying overhead.

  • Sidonie Grace

    I really LOVE the idea that someone like Gordon Hempton is out there "tracking silence in quiet places". Remarkable!I am so grateful I have so far been blessed with quiet dwelling places; furthermore, I simply feel great (appeased, nurtured and empowered) in a solitary environment in nature! My deepest gratitude to you for such an invaluable piece of work. Keep it up. Love and blessings galore.

  • Patrick Watters

    #DesertSolitaire #SandCountyAlmanac and others . . . I am after all simply an anonemoose monk who also happens to be an environmental biologist by education and heart. }:- ❤️

  • Lyndall Johnson

    I love the idea of how silence in one square inch means silence for a large area. It makes me think of how each thought that is "noise" (judgmental, critical, mean spirited) pollutes a vast area - it ripples out - and how one silent act of love in mind, heart or action ripples out to - the interconnectivity of all is also the responsibility of all. Perhaps we could all practice sound pollution in our own minds and hearts - who knows how that might extend to larger and larger areas.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    I was also just thinking about the value of quiet this morning and the need for it in my own life experience especially these days. Totally soaked in those last 30 seconds or so of the video where it was just the woods with the birds and insects, thank you for that!

  • Kay

    Can you imagine the societal change if we preserved silence and payed more attention to it? The change would be immense! Thank you Gordon for your sacred work!

  • Amanda Kuhnert

    Interesting that this landed in my inbox this morning. Just last night I was standing in a field, in what felt like the middle of nowhere (a very rural part of New England), looking at the stars. And when I listened closely, I could hear the steady hum of cars in the distance. It's so hard to find those quiet places, and yet we all need quiet in our lives ... I really appreciate Gordon's research. Thanks for sharing.

  • betty phillips

    Why the background music?

  • Page 1

  • Visit the One Square Inch website to learn about attempts to designate Olympic National Park as the world's first Quiet Park.
  • Learn more about Hempton in this interview with Krista Tippett's OnBeing.
  • Today, appreciate the sounds of nature when you go outside and be especially aware and appreciative of silence.

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