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Newsletter | #13 -

Newsletter | #13

Kumusta*, friend. 🙋‍♂️

Can bugs sound like alarm clocks? What are the advantages of recording close to home, rather than overseas? How much are carbon offset credits worth? What “feels like finding a unicorn or a Bigfoot”?

Read on to find out!

*“Hello” in Filipino.

Soundscape of the week 

‘Impressive Alarm Clock Cicadas’:

After the brief respite of the Christmas holiday, some of us may still be finding it difficult to claw our way out from under the duvet into the reality of a late-capitalist hellscape. If so, this aptly named recording may provide a suitably effective waker-upper; at around the one minute mark, Jocelyn Robert’s recording of cicadas on the Philippine island of Palawan (one of the country’s “most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine)”) really starts to live up to its title.

Articles and essays

🔜 The February 5th deadline for applications to the first round of Grants is rapidly approaching. The program will support people in the Global South to become professional field recordists. Participants will get field recording gear, training and coaching sessions with our professional field recordists, and some funds to cover field trip expenses. 

👉 Apply here.

🎤 “I would like to record […] everything from whales in the deep ocean to giant waves in Tahiti and freaky birds in the rainforests of Indonesia […]. [But] for an unforeseeable period, I would be bound within a radius of 100 km from my front door. […] All of a sudden, my creativity started to run away with me. In distant countries I always need help from local guides or tips from the internet – but here, I knew my way around. […] So I had already discovered the first big advantage of recording on my own doorstep.”

In ‘Field Recording: A Plea for Recording Nearby’, field recordist and sound artist/designer Nils Mosh shares his thoughts about the advantages of recording close to home versus the echoes of colonialism inherent in making recordings in unfamiliar cultural contexts. 

🐺 “A deeply quiet Autumn night with tree branches cracking in the cold air and suddenly a shy wolf vocalizes timidly, a tawny owl joins later and finally a big howling of around a dozen of Iberian wolves happen to leave space again for the owl”… 

‘A Night with Wolves’, the latest episode of Wind Is the Original Radio, the podcast, was recorded in the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center, 17 acres of Mediterranean woodland 30 km north of Lisbon, Portugal. This slow-burning soundscape builds up to an unearthly climax which is worth waiting for, but might send a shiver down the spine…

Other episodes of Wind Is the Original Radio are available on Apple and Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher, and new episodes are released every Friday.

Content from the extended community

😔 This week, in news that, if true, will surprise no-one but depress everyone: “The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider [the Washington DC-based nonprofit Verra] and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse.”

The outcome of a “nine-month investigation […] undertaken by the [UK] Guardian, the German weekly Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, a non-profit investigative journalism organisation”, reported here, is strongly contested by Verra, which “welcomes scrutiny of methodologies and contributions from other experts”.

💚 On a more magical note, ‘‘Like Finding a Unicorn’: Researchers Rediscover the Black-Naped Pheasant-Pigeon […]’ details the rediscovery of a chicken-sized Papua New Guinean pigeon, “a species that hasn’t been documented by scientists since it was first described in 1882”. 

The species’ continued existence could not have been confirmed “without guidance from local hunters with intimate knowledge of the island’s forests, […] demonstrating the invaluable role of Indigenous communities in ongoing efforts to relocate species lost to Western science”. Now, the challenge “becomes keeping the critically endangered species from going extinct” in the face of, among other threats, increasing pressure exerted by logging companies.

🌍 “I make the deep vow today, with gratitude and love in my heart, to cherish and protect [the Earth’s] beauty, and to embody your wondrous consciousness in my own life.”

The Emergence Magazine Podcast explores “the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality”. Its first episode of the year, ‘Ten Love Letters to the Earth’, shared recordings of “a series of meditations [by Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, and author Thích Nhất Hạnh] that engage us in intimate conversation with our Earth”, on the first anniversary of Nhất Hạnh’s death. The texts are also available here.

You may also wish to visit the website of Plum Village in Bordeaux, “the largest international practice center in the Plum Village tradition, and the first monastic community founded by” the Zen Master.

👉 See the Twitter feed for more content like this!

We hope you have a regenerative week. 🙏

With best wishes,
Neil and Team

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Neil Clarke is an independent comics writer based in East London, who really wishes he could draw.