From the Editor:

To usher in the new millennium, you will find enclosed a larger edition of the newsletter, a copy of the Society's information flyer, and a cut-out poster on the last page which you may wish to post publicly. The flyers are ideal for distribution in the information racks at libraries and community centres; please contact Hans at the Society's address on the front page to obtain a supply for this purpose.

I would also like to direct members' attention to the poll we are conducting on the last page, as to which time and day would be most suitable for the Annual General Meeting. Any other comments are also welcome, such as suggestions for speakers and topics, location, and time of year, etc.

We have contracted a new supply of Society t-shirts, which now include our web address, and have a range of sizes in stock from medium to extra-large. They are a light beige natural heavy-grade cotton, and provide serviceability as well as much needed publicity for our message. For a $25 donation, either the t-shirt or a copy of the highly informative 70-page handbook, "What You Can Do About Noise in BC," plus our "I Quiet" bumper sticker may be obtained. The handbook not only contains general noise-related material, but also a wealth of information on a wide range of specific noise problems, the effective filing of complaints, choosing a place to live, and mitigating noise using ear protection and soundproofing methods. These resources are available to both members and non- members of the Society on a donation basis.

I would like to thank the members from Vancouver Island who responded to the call for submissions regarding quiet places for dining. Any noise-related information members have which would be of benefit to our general readership is always most welcome for publication. It is your Society and your newsletter, and we can all work together to make it the best resource it can possibly be.

Three situations I have recently found myself in illustrate all too well how desperate the noise problem has become in certain settings. First, the volume of rock music in every break at a recent basketball game I attended at the University of BC was brutal enough to cause at least temporary if not some permanent hearing loss. Out of the three or four hundred spectators and participants, I witnessed not one but myself reaching to protect their ears from this assault. If ears were to bleed when hearing loss was occurring, I do believe the reaction of these people would be much different.

Secondly, a Save-On-Foods grocery store was recently constructed on 152nd Street at Highway 99 in South Surrey. On opening day, we found that the produce section alone had no less than eleven large speakers pounding incessantly, making it impossible for us to hear ourselves think!

Finally, upon repeated visits to a friend who was recently in an Intensive Care Unit, I was dismayed to find that radios marked "ICU" were routinely played by certain patients (and I even saw one just for staff!), with no headphones to ensure private listening. From beside my friend's bed, I could clearly hear the raucous tones of "Rock 101" emanating from the third cubicle away! Parallels certainly can be drawn between the health risks and discomfort of second-hand smoke (ridiculed some thirty years ago) and the effects of second-hand noise we face today.

On a more positive note, Target stores in the USA have adopted a policy of no background Muzak, and have given the staff walkie-talkies to minimize paging noise. Let's pool our efforts to make noise pollution a major environmental issue of the new millennium!

- V. D., <editor@quiet.org>

The Quiet-List is an e-mail listserve forum generously funded and maintained by our Society's member David Staudacher, where anti-noise activists from around the world meet to exchange information. To subscribe, send a message to majordomo@quiet.org with "subscribe quiet- list" (no quotes) in the message body. For the digest version, follow the same procedure, but put "subscribe quiet-list-digest" in the message instead. Any problems may be referred to quiet@quiet.org.

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