Wilderness is a sound – let’s make it loud!
The following blog is one of a series of four reporting on WILD’s wins for biodiversity and wilderness in 2023. If you like what you see and want to help create more victories for nature like these, please consider a gift to support WILD’s programs here.
At WILD, our team spends a lot of time encouraging you to use your voice. We believe, despite the many cynics in the world, that wilderness cannot flourish when its advocates remain silent.
But this year, WILD’s team is asking of you something a little different. While continuing to be a champion for wildlife and wild places, we ask you to pause a moment in the hustle and bustle of your day, and just . . . listen. All around you are the voices of others, a chorus of life, big and small, loud and soft, a hushed whisper in the trees, a bone-rattling roar in the night, a barely audible splash along the shore of a river.
Unfortunately, it is increasingly common to encounter stories or experiences that indicate that the volume of life is being dialed back. Conservationists and others often report after venturing into a forest or national park for the first time since a war or conflict a deafening silence. No birds chirp. No monkeys chatter. The community within has vanished. Which is why WILD.org is asking for your help during our end-of-year fundraising season. We need you to give to help empower some of the many people who are helping to keep Earth wild and wildly loud!
At the inception of the modern environmental movement, Rachel Carson wrote about the threat of a “silent spring,” when human interference – especially the use of pesticides – would result in the collapse of birds and insects, and with them, a songless, hum-less quiescence. In this, Carson recognizes that wild nature isn’t just a vision – it’s a symphony, a texture, an aroma, a sense created by a million unseen, but ever-present, relationships.
In other words, wild nature is a community, one to which we also belong. And just as in other communities, our contributions help the community to endure.
Human voices, too, are part of the libretto. For thousands of years, the stories and prayers o traditional cultures have reverberated on night breezes and morning dew, capturing in sound and memory our conscious interpretations of the world in which we live. These Indigenous and traditional voices, too, are in jeopardy of falling silent, another casualty of an expanding empire of modern and anthropocentric lifeways.
Many have tried to define wilderness, but in the end have struggled to encapsulate its essence with rational, hyper-modern concepts. At WILD, we are united in our commitment to wilderness even as we recognize that it is no more rational than a frog song on a summer evening or the percussion of waves against a solitary shore. Wilderness can only ever be partially defined. We know it only when we don’t interrogate it, allowing it instead to unfurl for us across the multitude of our senses.
This is just one of the many reasons why the team at WILD is so dedicated to the wilderness cause. At the most profound level, we only know wilderness once we have experienced it – and it is in the wild that we discover so much about ourselves and our world. Ensuring that there is enough wilderness to support our survival and grant future opportunities to confront the wild and their place in it is a fundamental requirement for our species, physically and spiritually.
Whether or not you donated to WILD’s work last year or not, our team extends its gratitude to you for being part of the community that is consciously listening to the needs of our wild home.
P.S. You can discover what WILD and our donors have accomplished in 2023 in our Annual Report (with cover design by the illustrious conservationist and artist – Ramón Perez Gil!) here.