Advice | January 5, 2017 9:00 am

Stop Listening to Music in the Woods, You Barbarian

Our devices are terrorizing the ecosystem. For real.

When my girlfriend told me that her sister loves to hike and would be taking us up one of Tucson’s best trails, I was naturally (har) pumped. Tucson is gorgeous during the winter. It had snowed the night before, and the peaks in Sabino Canyon were dusted white, a brilliant contrast to the tall green cacti flanking us and the rocky desert underfoot.

My girlfriend also told me that her sister loved to listen to music while hiking. This I was far less pumped about. 

But this isn’t just about music interrupting the perceived solitude that attends the woods, or how we should all enjoy the sounds of nature unadulterated because it literally makes you healthier. In fact, my girlfriend’s sister kept her music to herself; I could barely hear it.

The birds and bees, on the other hand: well, they could hear it. Or at least sense it. That’s because there’s mounting evidence that all of the signals we transmit from our devices and radio towers are responsible for colony collapse and disrupted migration patterns. And considering that birds and bees pollinate plants, and without them plants don’t grow, using your device contributes to a daisy chain of events that could lead to less diverse ecosystems. And less diverse ecosystems die.

The story came up in Feel the Noise, an article by Chuck Thompson in this month’s print edition of Outside (it’s not yet online). Though he’s not sold on the science just yet, all sign are pointing toward the notion that electrosmog, as it’s called, is partially responsible for our depleted biodiversity.

So if you desire to hear music by a campfire, perhaps you should learn to play the guitar. But for the love of God, please do so quietly.

And don’t play “Wonderwall.”