Right to Quiet

Fall 1999

Published by the Right to Quiet Society

359 - 1985 Wallace Street, Vancouver BC V6R 4H4

Phone:(604)222- 0207 Web site: www.quiet.org

Message from the Outgoing President

by Peter Donnelly

Looking through my files, I'm surprised to see that it's only a little over four years since I first heard of a group that was fighting for a quieter environment. It was exciting to find that others shared my view of noise as one of the great evils of modern society, even if this group was tiny. I no longer had to feel alone.

Since that time much has changed. The Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection (as it was then) has a new name that's easier for people to get their tongues around. As well, at least partly because of our efforts, major articles on noise have appeared in several magazines and newspapers. Our contribution to the Urban Noise Task Force has helped bring about a greater commitment to quiet by the civic government of Vancouver. We have helped promote three successive International Noise Awareness Days, published a handbook and a video, established a web site and two online discussion groups, and in general seen more and more discussion of noise as a threat to our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

However, some things haven't changed at all. Right to Quiet is still a tiny group. Worse, we still live in a noisy world -- measurably noisier, in fact, than when we started. We still face a wall of ignorance on the part of those in a position to do something about it. At the federal and provincial levels, politicians refuse to view noise as an environmental and health issue.

Even the members of the environmental movement have their blinkers on, or their fingers in their ears, when noise is mentioned. Awhile back, at an Earth Day rally, I asked for the sound system to be turned down. (It was at a volume likely to cause almost immediate, permanent hearing loss.) For my trouble I was physically assaulted and told that I "had better learn to live with rock and roll."

(Continued on page 2.)

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