COVID-19 has caused the greatest reduction in noise pollution ever recorded in human history

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and devastated the global economically. However, there have been a few positive unintended environmental consequences created by the virus.

Reports show there has been a significant reduction in climate-change creating greenhouse gasses in the first half of 2020. A newly-released report has found that human-generated noise pollution is down by up to 50% as well.

The research published in the journal Science was led by Dr. Thomas Lecocq and Dr Koen Van Noten of the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels and involved 76 authors from 66 institutions in 27 countries.


Seismologists believe this period may be the quietest since humans have been able to measure noise pollution and have dubbed it the "anthropause."

These scientists measure seismic waves to detect earthquakes and volcanic activity, but have to consider in the rumble of human activity caused by traffic, construction, and even sporting events, to get accurate information.

via Science

To assess the reduction in human-generated noise pollution, the researchers looked at 268 seismic stations around the world and found that 69% of them showed "showed significant reductions in human-caused noise."

The researchers also noticed a wave of sound reduction that began in China, then moved towards Western Europe, mirroring the progress of COVID-19 earlier this year.

"We were able to clearly link reductions in activity with lower seismic noise readings," Professor Martha Savage, a geology academic from New Zealand's Victoria University of Wellington who was involved in the study, said according to Vice.

The change in the global audio-environment revealed that human-generated noise pollution travels much further into the Earth than previously thought. A a seismometer placed 380 meters underground near Auckland, New Zealand showed that activity had been reduced by 50% during lock down.

via Science

The changes in global noise pollution due to COVID-19 highlight a growing global problem. Studies show that humans who live or work in loud environments are more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart disease and low birth weight.

"What we're doing to our soundscape is littering it. It's aural litter—acoustical litter—and, if you could see what you hear, it would look like piles and piles of McDonald's wrappers, just thrown out the window as we go driving down the road," Les Blomberg, the founder and executive director of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, told the New Yorker.

A study by the WHO found that noise pollution in western Europe leads to the annual loss of "at least one million healthy years of life."

Research on the effect of noise pollution on the animal kingdom is in its infancy stages but preliminary work shows it to be a threat to the survival of countless species. For example, fish larvae are able to find their homes through the sounds of coral reefs, this can be disrupted by noise pollution.

Owls and bats use acoustic signals to locate prey which can be disrupted by noise generated by human activity. The ubiquity of noise pollution has caused some species to relocate to live in quieter environments, effecting the biological richness that is vital to the ecological health of the planet.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been unquestionably devastating for humanity. But if there is a silver lining to be found in the crisis, it's that it's given us a vision of the world that is healthier for the entire animal kingdom.

Hopefully, this vision can will be taken into consideration by those in power as we rebuild the world when the virus subsides.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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