for Soundscape Awareness and Protection


359 - 1985 Wallace Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6R 4H4 Phone (604) 222-0207
Web Site: www.quiet.org E-mail: hsquiet@quiet.org


Spring 2002

Our 20th Anniversary Year!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection. When John Beltz, together with a few other like-minded people founded our Society in the early eighties, noise awareness, prevention and abatement appeared to be a fairly new concept in this "brave new world." But there was already the Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise in 1906, founded by Mrs. Julia Barnett-Rice in New York City's East River. Inspired by the accomplishments of that Society, Theodor Lessing started its German counterpart, the Deutscher Laermschutzverband (German Association for Protection from Noise), in 1908. His bulletin was entitled Das Recht auf Stille (The Right to Quiet).

Renowned contemporary Canadian composer, R. Murray Schafer, while working at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC, some 35 years ago, coined the term soundscape to name the acoustic aspect of the environment. John Beltz later "borrowed" that term and the Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection was born and registered in BC in May of 1982. It carried the slogan Right to Quiet, which was incorporated into the Society's name in 1997. Since then we have called ourselves Right to Quiet Society for short.

Unlike the right to clean air, for instance, the right to quiet proves to be much harder to get recognized and established. In spite of numerous efforts by individuals and organizations, this particular issue still appears like a far- off utopia. Although we are living in the age of "high tech" and scientific enlightenment, it seems, citing all the ever increasing noise, that too many people are unable to hear and understand the message: Noise hurts!

Our organization has worked for the past twenty years to change that. Finally, during the last decade, the soundscape awareness movement has gained enough momentum that now there are noise abatement organizations springing up throughout North America, Europe and other parts of the world. This success we largely owe to the availability of the Internet to ever more people around the globe. Here we have one example of "positive" use of technology.

In October 1996, Peter Donnelly established a web site for our organization where we could be seen globally. The following year David Staudacher obtained for us the domain name on the Internet, and set up the Quiet- List, an Internet forum for the exchange of relevant information and ideas. With these tools the quiet message could be spread around the globe and is having its effects, however slowly.

All this work would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of our volunteers and the generous support of our members. On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Right to Quiet Society I would like to thank each and every one who contributed and helped to get us and our cause to where it is. It is my hope that your support will continue so that we may carry on our endeavour for a quieter, healthier environment.

-Hans Schmid, President

Entire contents © 2002 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society

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