What have we lost when there are no quiet places left? Saturday in HMB

Press release

By on Wed, April 15, 2009


On Saturday April 18, The Visionary Edge will host Emmy Award-winning acoustic ecologist and author Gordon Hempton. The event will be co-hosted by and presented at the Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay. 

In One Square Inch of Silence Gordon Hempton has written the next Silent Spring—and will forever change our conception of conservation and activism. A beautifully written call to arms against the agents of manmade noise, this eloquent defense of natural quiet comes packaged with the author’s astounding recordings of nature. 

"Good things come from a quiet place: study, prayer, music, transformation, worship, communion," says Gordon Hempton.  "The words peace and quiet are all but synonymous, and are often spoken of in the same breath.  A quiet place is the think tank of the soul, the spawning ground of truth and beauty." 

Part road trip, part popular science, and part polemic, One Square Inch of Silence is a celebration of nature and an ear-opening journey into Earth’s vanishing sanctuaries. Like a sound safari, One Square Inch of Silence recounts Hempton’s trek across the country to capture the sounds of American landscapes and the reflections of American people on the importance of quiet in their lives. Birdsong, melting ice, and bugling elk all achieve immortality as the author addresses questions of surprising importance, including: Why isn’t natural quiet part of the ecological agenda?  

Saturday, April 18th. Doors will open at 7:00pm, event begins at 7:30 at the Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street (at Johnston), HMB.  Suggested donation is $10 advance, door $15. No one turned away for lack of funds! Call 650-560-0200 for information and reservations.  

From rain forest to urban center, from rugged mountains to midwestern prairie, the Earth is speaking.  In language that is haunting and urgent, he alerts us to a canary in a coal mine: "If we turn a deaf ear to the loss of natural quiet, we cannot expect to fare better with more complex environmental crises?" Reaching Washington, D.C., he pleads his case for the preservation of natural quiet.

"The extinction rate for quiet places vastly exceeds the rate of species extinction," says Hempton. "Preserving natural silence is as necessary as species preservation, habitat restoration, toxic waste cleanup, and carbon dioxide reduction. We’ve reached a time in human history when our global environmental crisis requires that we make permanent lifestyle changes. More than ever before, we need to fall back in love with the land. Silence is our meeting place."

But we are now facing a world where noise pollution is rampant in cities, suburbs, and even nature preserves. Hempton reports that a silence longer than 15 minutes is now extremely rare in the United States and long gone in Europe. In wilderness areas and national parks, the average noise-free interval has shrunk to less than five minutes during daylight hours.

Says Reba Vanderpool of The Visionary Edge, "We will open the evening with Gordon’s presentation, followed by book-signing of One Square Inch of Silence.  Books will be offered for sale at the event by local bookstore Moon News.  We will conclude the evening with a screening of the Emmy Award-winning documentary Vanishing Dawn Chorus chronicling Hempton’s work traveling and recording the sounds of dawn around the world. It is a privilege to have Gordon come to Half Moon Bay to present his work and share his passion for the planet and its few remaining silent places. He reminds us that is all of our work to protect that which we cherish, that which once lost, can never be regained."

"Saving silence is not an inconvenient chore, but an awakening joy," says Hempton.  "When we listen to silence, we hear not absence, but presence." One Square Inch of Silence is one of the most impassioned and original environmentalist works ever written.

Located in Half Moon Bay, The Visionary Edge produces events to inform, inspire, and empower us all to create a wiser, sustainable and more compassionate world.

Vanishing Dawn Chorus: Running Time: 43 minutes