Returning home late one night, I found the dogs missing, but a couple of jackals curled cosily by the still-glowing embers! Bees that dare to construct a hive in the odd tree that finds space amidst concrete towers are mostly doomed. In gated colonies like mine, the hives are simply sprayed with pesticides, killing the bees in one efficient stroke. As we sanitised our lives, spraying pesticides and poison on any creature we deemed as pests, our world diminished, and perhaps yet unknown to us, got lonelier.
Monsoons brought alive another orchestra — the guttural chorus of frogs as they serenaded their mates in the pools formed by the first showers. The croaks, while not high on the melody scale, were so very welcome. What moved me the most, though, were those memorable nights when the jackals howled, the eerie yowl piercing the soul. It was primitive. I marvelled at this ghost of the darkness, which I mostly heard, rarely saw: Where did it live?
Who was it calling? How did it survive in this hostile, peopled world? The night does not belong to the jackal now; the din of traffic has swallowed its taken over. This silence is seeping across landscapes, as forests, fields, wetlands, lakes, gardens are cleared, pillaged, paved over with concrete. As jungles shrink and thin, animals are on the retreat. Many moons ago, I was in Dachigam National Park, in the beautiful valley of Kashmir, which harbours the hangul, a rare red deer endemic to this region. An old soldier of the forest, the late Qasim Wani recalled how when he was a child the golden valleys of the forest boomed and echoed with the rutting call of the hangul.
Now, with barely about a of these deer remaining, only the odd rut pierces the air. There are many such examples, where within one lifetime, natural sounds have muted.
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Not just in the terrestrial landscape, rivers and oceans suffer the same fate. Whales are musical, with an amazing range of songs. The songs of the humpback whale are especially haunting, complex and can last for hours. Their music is not static, it evolves. The Gangetic dolphin, one of only six freshwater dolphins in the world, is near-blind, and to it sound is everything. The repertory is shrinking, and the desolate sounds of extinction are making waves here too.
Tropical rainforests have a soundtrack. Recording it may save them.
As wild creatures retreat and extinctions occur — the Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years — a silence shrouds our natural world. We are all witness to it, but we have chosen to close our eyes and ears to it. What are the sounds that surround you?
If you live in a typical city, it is likely that your aural universe is a deafening mix of honking, motor engine sounds, construction ruckus, clanging of passing trains, the piercing noise of airplanes should your house be unlucky enough to be placed on a flight path. It was one of the reasons I shifted out of Mumbai.
My nerves were on edge, and coupled with the diesel fumes, my headaches became all too frequent, impairing my regular functioning. There is nothing out of the ordinary about my affliction, noise pollution is linked to many ailments like heart disease, hypertension, and can lead to debilitating hearing loss.
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Our world is getting noisier. The increase in noise follows the graph of human populations, only it grows faster, the decibels doubling every 30 years, by some estimates. New technology brings new noise — vacuum cleaners, car alarms, loud, and louder, stereo systems, mobile phones.
I am as guilty, sucked in the tech-age as the rest of the race. My cell phone trills out a bird song, every time someone thinks of me, telephonically speaking. Fireflies by Sangram Govardhane.
Day at Night What I also acutely miss are the nights, which are no longer nights. The darkness has gone out of our lives c and I mean it literally — by pervasive light pollution, a constant glare from excessive, unshielded night lighting. Have you seen the satellite images of our planet during the hours of darkness?airtec.gr/images/localizar/3971-programa-antiespias.php
The sound of silence: Britain's lost birds | The Independent
We fear the dark, it is difficult for most of us to imagine light as pollution. But life on earth has evolved under natural cycles of light — night and day. Animals including ourselves have a biological clock that regulates periods of rest and activity, guides in their functioning of navigating, foraging for food etc. Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and are active at night.
This is a factual essay of dimishing migrant songbirds. The author coveers which birds are decreasing and the various causes of their decline.
France warns of a silent spring as bird numbers plummet
She also explains why their diminishing numbers affect Bridget Stutchbury. Wood thrush, Kentucky warbler, the Eastern kingbird--migratory songbirds are disappearing at a frightening rate. Subscribe to the new agenda and lead the way in business and beyond. Sign in. Become an FT subscriber to read: The US is losing its birds and must act before it is too late Explore the new agenda We live in a time of disruption but where others see difficulty, we see opportunity - not just to survive but to thrive.
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