When was the last time you were in a location with only natural sound? Never?
Gordon Hempton’s mission is simple in theory, to record the last remaining ‘quiet places’ of the world before they vanish. Known as an acoustic ecologist, Hempton has traveled to untouched regions all over the globe, desperate to preserve the disappearing sounds of unfiltered nature.
CBS Sunday Morning recently caught up with Hempton as well as a few others who are desperate to preserve locations untouched by man-made sound. These experts explain that because of air travel (airplanes and helicopters) as well as other vehicles like loud motorcycles, finding a spot on the earth that is untouched by man-made sound is next to impossible.
Gordon Hempton, who calls himself the Sound Tracker, is an “acoustic ecologist” who has traveled the world recording the sounds of nature, from birdsong and rainfall to babbling brooks and the rustling of leaves. But the noise we humans make is making it harder to find those quiet places – and, he says, it’s having real consequences for wildlife as well. Bernie Krause, a musician and sound recordist, has become an audio anthropologist, documenting the sounds of nature. He also has noticed dramatic changes in some areas, such as in a Costa Rican rain forest. He helps correspondent Lee Cowan (and us) listen to the difference.
Watch when CBS Sunday Morning caught up with Gordon Hempton the first time:
Sound recordist Gordon Hempton is an “acoustic ecologist” who has traveled the world recording the sounds of nature, from birdsong to babbling brooks. “Sunday Morning” visited with Hempton for this report, first broadcast on November 18, 1990, in which he describes the process of capturing the natural world, and searches for the optimal position at which to best hear the sound of the ocean’s waves.
Find out more about Gordon Hempton, The Sound Tracker, at soundtracker.com.