A WILLIAM CONDRY READER
“As time passes I become ever more convinced that it is in the wild places that we have the best hope of finding such little sanity as survives in the world.” So wrote naturalist, conservationist and Thoreauvian William Condry (1918–1998), once described in the Telegraph as “one of the finest British writers on natural history in the 20th century”. Jim Perrin, a regular writer of the Guardian’s Country Diary, wades into the 21st-century debate about contemporary nature writing by curating the quiet brilliance of Condry’s prose as it exhorts us to defend the land and “all that lives upon it”. These soundscapes represent the voice of the natural world, and give us a sense of place that no visual cue can provide. I have spent about five decades recording in the field. Over 50 per cent of my natural sound archive comes from habitats that have become so compromised by human endeavour that they are either altogether silent or the biophonies can no longer be heard in their original form.
What changes to the wild sonic environment have you documented?
I live in northern California, and this was the first year with absolutely no birdsong in spring or summer. Due to the impact of drought and
How can we help the natural sonic environment?
Stop the relentless plundering of our natural resources and keep the sound we make to a minimum. Anthropophony – human noise – affects all organic life. For example the noise produced by snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park in the MidWest caused elevated stress levels in wolves and elk.
by Bernie Krause uncovers the collective voice of the wild and the impact that it has on people (Yale University Press, £14.99): www.yalebooks.com