Light and sound are the two basic elements that presents itself in nature. Anything we are able to see is lit up by a source of light, either natural or artificial. Careers such as Photography, modelling, painting, shows, concerts, advertising etc does not exist without light. Without the sun we will not exist in the first place. Darkness is actually in essence the absence of light. Sounds and sights of nature have been ever present. We see it only if we look for it. There are many varieties of sounds which we are exposed to every single day and some are very rare of which we do not hear. Birds all over the World make unique and peculiar sounds, some melodious and some not so. With the destruction of forests that’s happening at the current rate, we are in fact destroying the habitats of very rare animals and their unique sounds. Plant and animal life are linked in a delicate and harmonious way. One cannot survive without the other. The Auroras at the North and the South poles are nothing short of amazing and is one of the Natural wonders created out of the Earth’s magnetic field through its effect on solar particles and displayed by the excitement of electrons.
Rare sounds will start disappearing. Humans are losing their skills in reading , writing and speaking. This involves making sounds. Today we are all texting and typing more than plain talking. We will soon be losing this skill of making sound that is emitted from our vocal cords. Speaking has become rare and public speaking even rarer. Social media videos helps propagate recorded sounds that were recorded back then and is not current. To have current information we need to talk face to face or if distance is what separates us, talk over the phone. But start talking. It’s a use it or lose it situation.
Our ancestors have looked to the night sky to help them navigate from one place to the other. They were able to read the sky like an immense open book. Fast forward to today, when we look at Earth from space, we see that most of the Earth has been lit up with artificial lights, especially in major cities where the streets are flooded with high intensity lights. Back then we had halogen lamps, today we have an even brighter LED lights. We look up at the night sky and see the haze of ground lights and can we rarely see the stars. Today our skies have closed upon us. We have lost the skills to navigate ourselves using the position of the sun, stars and the moon as guide. Of course we have the GPS but it does not work accurately in remote parts of the World. What about our knowledge of the sound of birds? Do we know much about them? What are they trying to tell us? What about the sound of waves and the sound that Earth throws at us through seismic activity that’s happening all the time beneath our feet? Do we know how to read the sound of animals and learn from it ahead of time of impending natural disasters. Animals have much a more innate and instinctive feel of Earth than does Man. Nature is always trying to communicate to us and tell us something. Since we are supposedly the brightest species on the Planet capable of innovative thinking, we should be able to decipher the code, learn from it and use it when needed.
Light pollution leads to many undesirable side effects. We have learned to keep our lights on 24/7, willing to forego sleep, waste our night time away and put ourselves in harms way by damaging our own health. Back then people followed the sun from dawn to dusk. When the sun set they went to sleep. They rose early and went to bed early, which made them healthy. Today we have an epidemic of obesity in both adult and children, diabetes, hypertension and chronic sleeplessness. Light is the causative agent. With light use at our disposal anytime, anyplace and anywhere, we have learned to take it for granted. Environmental Pollution is a byproduct of this in addition to light pollution. Light pollution also affects the flowering season of plants, bird migration and bee pollination. Everyone seems confused. Road kills are a major problem today. With wildlife depleting at a rapid pace, the effects of light are killing deer, bees, insects in vast numbers which are not even being accounted for nor are being recorded. So having light in our cars, our buildings, stadiums, parking lots, warehouses, strip malls, our subways etc we have turned day into night. That means no sleep. Increased indirect pollution in creating energy via fossil fuels, coal or natural gas. Bars and night clubs are open throughout the night. Our skyscrapers in all major and smaller cities are lit up at night even though no one is using them at night. Lot of wastage. It also affects our astronomy where scientists cannot view the night sky from the perimeter of a city. So they are forced to build telescopes on remote areas of the Planet where light pollution is not an issue such as on a mountain top.
Sound pollution is another subject that draws attention. If you live in any major city you cannot avoid this: Sound. It is plentiful here. Too much of sound is also very harmful leading to permanent or partial hearing loss. It’s also an occupational hazard for many. People are supposedly enjoying music in the volumes set at maximum in their homes, rock concerts, fast cars, head phones etc. Work sites are know well for noise pollution. This also creates effects as well as hearing loss. Sound also interferes with bird migration, alter its migration path. Birds may also lose its orientation to the Earth’s magnetic fields which may in turn alter its behavior. This is seen by studying the behavioral patterns of many animals. Then there are waves which we see and some which is inaudible to the naked ear. Some are supersonic and many are subsonic. Then comes the radio waves and other electronically generated waves. This may have some health benefits in low doses and low frequencies such as its applications in ultrasounds. Others may have detrimental effects on the Human body.
Just like life we need to pick the good from the lot. Everything in moderation is good. That applies to light and sound as well. Exposing ourselves to intense light or sound for either the short term or the long term is definitely harmful to us in one way or another. it all depends on the frequency of exposure, the intensity and its duration.
It’s our choice to keep the volume at higher setting when listening to music. It’s also our choice to read in candle light or to use a normal light source for easy reading. The decision to enjoy nature or even to shun it is also ours. Ultimately, our choice dictates the status of acceptance or rejection. If we do not enjoy nature who will? We need to enjoy its sights and sounds in all its glory, size, shape, form and color. If not we are missing out big. It’s there for us to feast our eyes on.
In the end either we learn to live with nature or live against it. Either we enjoy it or we ignore its beauty. There’s nothing in between. Our choice matters.