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Nature soundman. Carlos de Hita's profession has allowed him to be a direct witness of what happens in natural landscapes around the world, and show it to the public through his blog at ELMUNDO.es (The Sound of Nature), his radio collaborations on the SER network and the documentaries in which he has participated, such as
Attentive listening to the soundscape, says De Hita, "allows us to analyze the evolution of the environmental crisis."
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The Sound of Nature. Sound calendar of the landscapes of Spain
(Anaya Touring) some of the sounds with which it has been feeding its archive for more than 35 years. A book that sounds well allows, by scanning its more than 70 QR codes, to enter a remote forest, listen to the most elusive animal species, feel a sunrise or shudder with the sound of a storm. Because as De Hita assures, nature itself tells itself with its own voices.
During confinement for the pandemic we stayed at home, the chirping of the city's birds was no longer silenced by the noise of cars for a few weeks and other species took advantage of it to recover. You who record what happens around you, what did you perceive when you went out to the countryside or to the cities after confinement? During the months of confinement, the soundscape regained the silence of a century ago. The atmosphere seemed like glass: no mechanical noise, no traffic, no planes. And the voices of the animals were propagated through that acoustically clean space. The anguishing tragedy that we were living gave way, paradoxically, to a great beauty. With the return to normality, the feeling is contradictory: of relief, of course, but also of some sorrow for the expulsion of that "acoustic paradise "lost. The Covid-19 pandemic has served to make some people realize the importance of being in contact with nature, there are even people who are buying houses in the country and moving. You who have been living for many years next to a forest, what do you think of this rediscovery of nature by people from the city? Do you think it will be a fad or do you think that what we have lived can serve to better appreciate and protect nature? Beyond the good ones purposes expressed in those months, I think the only good news of all that was that, for a time, people opened the windows and listened to a different world. And they liked that. I would like us to be a little more demanding from now on with our sound environment, more uncompromising with the noise that surrounds us.The soundscape is the thermometer of the quality of the world we live in. And noise makes the temperature rise. You have been recording sounds for more than 30 years, what changes in the soundscape of Spain have you perceived during these decades? Many. The richness of nature's soundtrack is also the measure of biodiversity. And in recent decades, too many voices, too many animals, have disappeared. Scientists have measured it. In Europe, more than half of the voices that sang half a century ago are missing. The bees are ceasing to buzz over the flower fields and the insects are silent. In many places the soundscape tends to simplify. And then there are the new sounds: the newly arrived parrots that invade urban parks,the cicadas - the sound of the heat - climbing up the slope through the less and less cool mountain forests. Attentive listening, with perspective, allows us to analyze the evolution of the environmental crisis In recent months, especially, but also for a few years now, we have been seeing a succession of natural disasters in different parts of the world, some of them already attributed directly to the climate change by scientists: devastating floods in Germany or China, big fires in Canada, the USA or Siberia ... As a sound engineer, do you perceive more extreme events in Spain? Of course, summers are longer, and, at least in my camping areas, the white silence of snowfalls lasts less and less. There are voices that are gradually dying out, like grouse, for multiple reasons, but with a cause that encompasses everything,which is climate change that alters the old synchronies between the cycles of animals and plants. I already said before that the soundscape gives us the measure of environmental quality. We are in the middle of the fire season, what does a landscape scorched by fire sound like? In a forest fire fear sounds, if I may express myself. Hurricanes of fiery wind, the clicking and creaking of the trees as they ignite, which seem like screams of despair. And a roar of airplanes, helicopters, sirens, screams ... The agonizing sound of a burning forest is the denial of all that we hold dear. And then, with the gray ashes, only silence. Is there a species recorded in your archive that has already become extinct? No, fortunately. Although some walk directly there. If I had to describe a year in Spanish landscapes,Which species would you say best represent or for you each of the four seasons? Winter: silence in the field disturbed by small occasional disturbances (flocks of cranes, wild geese, etc.). Spring: every day a new voice is incorporated into the natural concert (nightingales, swallows, orioles, hoopoe ...). And all the frogs in the ponds. Summer: the parched sounds of heat (cicadas, buzzing flying insects) and, hopefully, the rumble of storms. Autumn: time of the bellowing of the deer, the hoarseness of the fallow deer and the heads of the mountain goats. How do you camouflage yourself to go unnoticed and record the most elusive species? Camouflage is important. But much more is patience and a discreet attitude, without fuss.What has been the sound of nature that has cost you the most? The howls of a pack of wolves (so suspicious), the meows of Iberian lynxes in heat on winter nights (because of how scarce it is), and, in general, the silence in the countryside, beyond the growing noise. What is your most beloved recording? The recordings are memories of moments lived on the front line in the middle of nature. The good memories accumulate. But if I have to choose, I keep the record of a pack of wolves at the end of twilight, at the hour of lubricán. What would you recommend to people who want to learn to differentiate species in nature?the silence in the countryside, beyond the growing noise. What is your most loved recording? The recordings are memories of moments lived on the front line in the middle of nature. The good memories accumulate. But if I have to choose, I keep the record of a pack of wolves at the end of twilight, at the hour of lubricán. What would you recommend to people who want to learn to differentiate species in nature?the silence in the countryside, beyond the growing noise. What is your most loved recording? The recordings are memories of moments lived on the front line in the middle of nature. The good memories accumulate. But if I have to choose, I keep the record of a pack of wolves at the end of twilight, at the hour of lubricán. What would you recommend to people who want to learn to differentiate species in nature?What would you recommend to people who want to learn to differentiate species in nature?What would you recommend to people who want to learn to differentiate species in nature?
automatic plant and animal recognition
-not very reliable, for now-, I still use the classic field guides, books with illustrations, keys and descriptive texts.
At least in my case, I am unable to memorize the name or appearance of a species if I have not previously made an attempt to identify it. What sounds do you have left to record and places to visit for it? Many.
And all better and from closer.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project
Science and Health
Climate crisis No region of the planet is safe from extreme heat
Environment 82% of Spanish citizens separate waste at home
Environment Last June was the warmest on Earth's surface since 1880
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