Humans, be quiet!

Voices shout. No-one speaks anymore. At every corner – even in the lungs of the metropolis, such as Woodberry Wetlands – the volume of human interaction is turned up. Drowning out the quiet of nature.

Is it because the base line of London noise is already so loud, people have to stretch their vocal chords to be heard? A shrill pitch, a booming bark, a clanging cluck. Do they even realise how loud they are? Vying for air time, muscling in to be noticed, raising voices as if no-one can hear them. And yet we do. We hear every word, every sigh, every syllable. Where does this need  to bellow come from? There seems to be one volume – out in the open, on public transport, in cafés, restaurants and shops. Even in the workplace. Humans, be quiet!

The constant assault of loudness on our urban senses is already plenty enough to manage (cars, buses, trains, road works, construction…). Loud, intrusive talking seems to be the latest in noise pollution. No-one seems to be aware of the impact it has on fellow humans trying to go about their quiet business. One volume for everyone. Regardless of time, place and circumstance.

It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon for a stroll around Woodberry Wetlands. Watching the water fowl splash and flutter in the reservoir – bedecked by reed beds we were invited to keep off – was calming and quiet. Or at least it started out that way. Half way round, I heard loud voices and drilling coming from what appeared to be a private apartment, just outside the Wetlands. Someone was doing a bit of DIY on their deck. It was all the more disruptive, because of the hoped for tranquility in this spot of Nature. Competing with a drill, the voices strained above even usual loudness. I could no longer amble blissfully along the path, with such a racket in my ears.

I started wondering if there are laws against disturbing the peace on a sunny Sunday so close to a nature reserve. And if there were who would enforce them. Of course ideally the workmen would be more considerate regardless of laws. As would people walking round the Wetlands who found it necessary to talk volume up like fog horns in troubled waters.

If everyone took more notice of how loudly they speak in ordinary conversations, wherever they are, and turned the volume down just a notch, it would make for a less noise polluted experience for us all. Yes?

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 © Amanda Yensa Manor 2016


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