Recent research has begun to map noise pollution (anthropogenic noise) and its impact on biodiversity. Sordello, De Lachapelle, Livoreil, and Vanpeene discuss the problem: Noise pollution, especially as originates in cities, has a negative impact on biodiversity. But anthropocenic noise is experienced outside of cities ("motor boats on lakes, aircraft in the sky, etc."). Many species hear and emit sounds (e.g., to mate, to detect prey or predators). They need to hear and emit sounds to survive. Noise pollution negatively impacts their ability to do this.
Do music educators have a responsibility to teach in ways that help students understand the challenge of noise pollution in relation to loss of biodiversity? Perhaps. At an interdisciplinary level, we are able to teach for improved scientific understanding, at least around issues that concern musics, sound, soundscapes, and noise. Broadly speaking, I feel responsible for teaching people to understand sound; and not just what has traditionally been called "music." And I've defined music in my book around the idea of sound. And music teachers operate within preschools, K-12 schools, and universities, often without rigid curricula as restrictive as is faced by teachers of other subjects. Because of this, music teachers seem well-placed to educate students of all ages to recognize, hear, and resist noise pollution.
Following suggestions in my book:
1. Students can explore the issues of anthropogenic noise and write songs of resistance (see p. 65)
2. Teachers and students can recognize the rights non-human beings may have in relation to sound and music (see p. 59-60)
3. We can spend more time listening to soundscapes (see p. 51)
4. We can work for increasing commons, where diverse species may exist (see p. 29).
Ultimately, I define music as the intentional experiencing of sound (p. 41). These three ideas--intention, experience, sound--are important, for me, to constructing a praxial music pedagogy that is ethically good around environmental issues.