Gordon Hempton

Gordon Hempton, the Sound Tracker



Gordon Hempton, a sound recordist, takes a noise level reading, Thursday, June 9, 2005, in Olympic National Park, after a three mile hike to his one square inch of quiet space. Hempton wants to declare one square inch of the Hoh valley a sanctuary of natural quiet as a way to defend the “soundscape” of Olympic National Park. (Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)


Gordon Hempton is also known as The Sound Tracker. He has dedicated many years of his life to finding and preserving spaces on Earth that are silent. He argues that there only a few such places left in the USA, and none in Europe. He has spoken all over the world about the issue of silence disappearing from the planet.

[This section was added shortly after I posted today.  After reading this piece in his book, I thought it should be added.

“We’ve reached a time in history when our global environmental crisis requires that we make permanent life-style changes. More than ever before, we need to fall back in love with the land. Silence is our meeting place.

It is our birthright to listen, quietly and undisturbed, to the natural environment and take whatever meanings we may. … Preserving natural silence is as necessary and essential  as species preservation, habitat restoration, toxic waste cleanup, and carbon dioxide reduction…Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything…. It is the presence of time, undisturbed. It can be felt within the chest.” (Hempton, One Square Inch of Silence)]

Here is his website.

Here is a link to the trailer of the movie about his work.

He has also written a book, “One Square Inch of Silence”. Read it and find out more about his search for quiet spaces in America. It is a very interesting read/travelogue.

And here you can listen to a recent podcast made by Generation Anthropocene.

From 2010, a TED talk that he gave.

Even Oprah has made a short doc about his work.

Hempton has experienced hearing loss, twice. With wry humour he writes:

 “Perhaps in my prayers I should have explained in a little more detail that I want noise pollution to be reduced, not to lose my hearing.”

 Here is the story about that his hearing losses.

Gordon Hempton is one of the good guys in the world of noise pollution. Check him out.


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