Category Archives: noise pollution

The sound of a damaged habitat

Reading this almost made me sob as I began thinking of the dozens of such places I have hiked through, often on my own and other times with friends or fellow naturalists. In any case, even here in the “green” state of Vermont, natural sounds are increasingly being lost amid the noise of the human machine.

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The Briggs & Stratton Symphony

The following is the letter to the editor I submitted yesterday to the Burlington Free Press here in northern Vermont.

Having moved to the Burlington area a year ago – from a very busy and thus noisy neighborhood in northeastern Pennsylvania, I knew it would only be a matter of time and season before the noise pollution followed me north. And, after quite a few fits and starts, it did. The time of day was 0730 (the 24-hour military version of time, or TOD). The day was mid-week of June’s last seven-day stretch. And the noisemaker of choice (loads of decibels) was a chainsaw.

Actually, there were two chainsaws and the men operating them were across the street from my abode. And neither appeared to have ear protectors on (something an Air Force doctor warned me to always wear while mowing a lawn).

Having just turned 60, I dutifully traveled the three-or-so miles over to the Vermont Air National Guard base yesterday to get my new retiree identification card. That mission was completed by 1000. And while over there, I got to see some F-16s sitting on the tarmac. The Fighting Falcon was, and still is, the aircraft of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. I know the 8th, nicknamed the Wolf Pack, very well. I was its public affairs officer from June 1985 to June 1986.

Yes, a taking-off F-16 can and does have a noise envelope. In my 26 year Air Force career I never met an aircraft that didn’t – jet or propeller-driven.

Yes, Burlington-area Vermonters have a right to be concerned about a future aircraft’s noise. But, we all ought to be just as concerned, if not more, about the noise pollution we put up with all the time, regardless of what the Air Guard fighter wing may be up to flying wise. Those chainsaws whose noise pollution wiped out the morning bird song are a sterling example of what’s out there. And this noise pollution is so constant thatmany of us simply take it for granted. Wrong choice.

Newfangled Air Force jet stirs up noise complaints

And the F-35 hasn’t even been produced in quantity yet, and already the “breaking news” media complainers are busy, busy, busy. The so-called debate is occurring here in Burlington Vt., and has also touched down at Tucson, Ariz. You can read the Arizona angle here. A retired Air Force public affairs officer to all you planetoids: Jet fighters do make some noise. There is no way around that. But there is a helluva lot more noise out there all the time, weekends included: Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, juiced up motorcycles, hot-rodders in gas guzzlers, car stereo systems, freight train horns (I hear them here in Williston, Vt.), automobile horns, boom boxes, passenger airliners, etc. etc. etc. Those and more are the sources of urban noise which few of us even wonder about because we live with it all the time. It’s called noise pollution.

More and more, the sounds of nature hidden behind human noise

This is my latest newspaper column. I always, by the way, write about a particular conservation issue, not the hook and bullet stuff often written about by other mainstream print media “outdoor” writers.

Help the National Park Service control turtle- and bird-killing off-roaders

Off-roaders equates to ATVs, ORVs, OHVs, Jeeps, four-wheel-drive SUVs, etc. They all kill wildlife if driven on places like the beeches at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina. Read about them here.

Stop illegal off-road cowboys by getting their number

The scourge of wild places is hardly limited to states in the West. I used to shout at ATV riders mowing down vegetation inside power-line rights-of-way in Pennsylvania. The problems are much the same as they are in the West: trail erosion, scaring wildlife, fragmenting wild places, noise pollution, air pollution, a loss of serenity and peacefulness, etc. etc. Here’s a piece about taking the numbers of off-road cowboys. Go to it.

Noise pollution is changing forests

As a veteran of more than 15 years of Breeding Bird Survey field work, I know a gret deal of how pervasive human noise has become. Striving to hear birdsong above the din of a highway or lawn mowers or chainsaws or leaf blowers is more than the occasional challenge. Read about noise pollution’s effects on forest life in this article.