Rather than simply listening to other people talk, World Listening Day was created to draw attention to the way humans need to be listening to the world around us, including environmental awareness, soundscapes and acoustic ecology.
History of World Listening Day
The study of Acoustic Ecology began in the late 1960s. Also called ecoacoustics or soundscape studies, this field promotes understanding about the relationship between human beings and their environment, particularly as it relates to sound. The World Soundscape Project (WSP) was formed as a result of this study, practically applying itself to the problems of noise pollution and promoting harmony in the sonic environment.
The first World Listening Day was celebrated in 2010 and has been observed annually since then. July 18 was chosen as the day for the celebration as it is the birthday of R. Murray Schafer, who was a Canadian composer and one of the founders of the movement of Acoustic Ecology.
As the movement to end noise pollution and harmonize the relationship between humans and the environment continues, World Listening Day works to bring awareness and action to the cause.
How to Celebrate World Listening Day
Get involved with World Listening Day by sharing it with friends and family, and perhaps inviting them into some of these activities:
Set Aside Time to Listen to Your Soundscape
Depending on the location, simply taking some time to listen to the environment can be an easy way to celebrate World Listening Day. Take a walk alone in the woods or a part, silence your phone and just open those ears to listen to the surrounding world. Listen to the wind in the trees, the birds chirping, the bees humming.
Organize a Listening Party
Whether in the breakroom at work or during class time at school, create a space that allows people to remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of the world, escaping through the world of sound. Arrange to have a soundtrack of field recordings available that are accessible, either to everyone in the room or to individuals by using headphones.
Ask participants to close their eyes, relax, listen carefully and observe what they hear. After the session, provide an opportunity for conversation so the participants can discuss their experience. Then, encourage them to be more active and attentive about practicing listening to the world on a more regular basis.
Reduce Noise Pollution
Individuals can be empowered to take actions toward reducing noise pollution in a few simple ways. Try turning off appliances (and unplugging) appliances at home or in the office. Close the door when using noisy machines like washing machines or dishwashers. Riding a bicycle instead of driving a car is a great way to cut down on noise pollution.
Community activists might want to get involved with World Listening Day by engaging with opportunities to reduce noise pollution locally. Campaigning for mass planting of trees (which absorb noise), building noise barriers near highways, promoting better product design and asking for pedestrian only areas in communities.