One of the defining aspects of modern life is our inability to hear the sounds of nature due to noise pollution. But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the world have remarked that they’re hearing birds and other creatures more clearly than ever before. This includes professional listeners like Chris Watson, the legendary field recordist who for decades has captured the sounds of wildlife heard in David Attenborough’s films, including The Green Planet, which will premier next year. As Watson points out, the moment noise pollution stops, the problem goes away. But this period of relative global silence we’re experiencing right now is temporary, and something we should all take advantage of. “Most of our time, in much of our lives, we spend time blocking out sound simply to get through the day,” he says. But if we open our ears, “We can easily train ourselves to be good listeners.”
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