Finding Quiet Can Be Elusive, Even in Nature

By Mark A. Ellison, Ed.D.

Perhaps you noticed that we live in a noisy world. Maybe it is the constant hum of traffic, or the construction near your office, or the neighbors that are constantly using lawn equipment. It is difficult to escape. Over half the world’s population now lives in urban settings, making it extremely difficult to find quiet if you live in these settings. Even in rural areas, finding places free of human created noise is not easy.

nature pic

The National Park Service recently created a map that indicates that many people live in areas where night skies and soundscapes are very degraded. The blue areas of the map below indicate places where noise is less prevalent. Unfortunately, most of the eastern United States is brightly colored indicating significant noise and light pollution. The park service also found that even in more natural backcountry settings noise is prevalent due to hikers, maintenance equipment and other sources. Excessive noise is harmful not only to human health, but to wildlife as well. Certain species of animals avoid noisy places. America_Quiet

Fortunately there are places such as the “One Square Inch” project in Olympic National Park that are treated as sanctuaries for silence, to experience the quiet of nature, and used to help build awareness of the need for more areas like it.

A number of research studies have linked excessive noise with increased levels of violence and crime. Humans need to experience some levels of quiet and solitude to remain healthy. Nature provides a primary escape for this. However, if the dwindling areas of nature are not protected, there will no more places offering this type of escape.

Many of us struggle to hear our “inner voice”, to live a balanced life, and to take time to reflect. The Cherokee have a term for living life in balance, duyuktv. Take time to find a quiet natural area nearby and soak in some of the restorative power of nature, to find a sense of balance, of duyuktv. Once you have captured that restoration, share it with others. Then, work together to help protect the natural areas where you live and explore.


3 thoughts on “Finding Quiet Can Be Elusive, Even in Nature

  1. Hello Mark,

    I would like to certify my land as a Shinrin-yoku site. I hope to purchase the equipment to do so and knowledge of the procedure- can you help me locate this information and the equipment to do the job?

    Thank you kindly and I am very inspired by your story and your involvement in the Nature Medicine movement!

    Lee Faro

  2. Hello again Mark,

    I hope you are getting lots of wilderness hikes in this Summer.
    I certainly am- I recently moved to Bend, OR.- my new home base is perfect for someone with the Nature-Immersion-Passion.

    Nearly everywhere I turn- to determine a useful thesis topic for an MA in Conflict Resolution (CA) that embraces Nature Medicine (NM) research- your name appears. For instance, I see you are very involved in the INFOM. In effort to determine how my thesis work could uniquely intertwine the two disciplines- CR and NM- it seems wise to engage several NM insiders.

    Would you be willing to have a phone consultation with me?

    Thank you for your consideration. If you are able to speak with me please text several good times and payment procedure.


    Lee B. Faro

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