Just as a candy wrapper clinging to branches of a trail-side oak is litter on the natural landscape, loud and boisterous behavior is litter on the natural soundscape. When we go on weekend hikes in the Wasatch, camping trips to the red rock, or evening picnics up canyons and nearby parks, let's not be the loudest thing around.
Think of all the human-made noise we hear in a single day: car engines, helicopters, computer pings, phone chirps, pounding construction, cash drawers closing. It's endless. In her article, "Is Your Noisy Neighborhood Slowly Killing You?," Florence Williams reports: "the level of background din from human activities has been doubling roughly every three decades, beating population growth." There is nothing surprising about thiswe are humans living amongst thousands of other humans. We make noise. But, as population and sound levels explode along the Wasatch Front, we need balance.
Americans spend 87 percent of their time indoors and 6 percent in an enclosed vehicle. This is bad news considering the many studies published in recent years which prove that excursions in the outdoors are essential to our health. Time in a wild setting, removed from modern noise, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves cognitive function, and generates a brilliant quality of aliveness.