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About the Right to Quiet Society

The Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1982 as a charitable organization with the mission of raising public awareness of the detrimental effects of noise on health; promoting awareness of noise pollution and the dangers of noise to our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing; working for noise reduction through better regulation and enforcement; encouraging responsible behaviour regarding noise; advocating for manufacturing quieter products; and fostering recognition of the right to quiet as a basic human right, rather than an amenity for the affluent.

Thanks to the efforts of the Society, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation designated three beaches as quiet zones, with prohibition of amplified sound. The Society was instrumental in persuading the Vancouver City Council to implement restrictions on construction work, such as no work on Sundays and holidays. The Society helped set up and served on an Urban Noise Task Force in Vancouver that established 165 recommendations related to noise control. And on the provincial level, the Society contributed input on planning for ecological reserves in a rural area that designated to be free of anthropogenic noise, including aircraft, with the exception of emergency and rescue operations.

Over the years, the Society has donated more than 600 books to libraries throughout British Columbia, including the books Listen to the Raindrops, The Book of Noise, Stillness, Daily Gifts of Solitude, One Square Inch of Silence, and In Pursuit of Silence. In early 2018, the Society donated 20 copies of the DVD In Pursuit of Silence to libraries in British Columbia. The film is unrelated to the book, although the book served as inspiration for the film.

Society officers and board members have appeared as guests on radio shows and given interviews in print and on television. Society members in Canada and the US have:

  • met with a car sharing company to discuss adoption of practices to reduce environmental noise
  • worked with police and elected leaders in Edmonton to reduce sound levels from motorbikes with modified mufflers
  • persuaded a local council in Albany, New York to amend a noise code in such a way that a citizen witness of a noise violation could result in a notice of violation
  • met with a US member of Congress to discuss acoustic vehicle alerts
  • met with a policy analyst at Consumers Union to discuss acoustic vehicle alerts
  • represented the Society at Earth Day events, environmental trade shows, and local health fairs in Vancouver, New York, and New Jersey

The Right to Quiet Society does not seek to create an absolutely quiet world. However, we want to see a world where quiet is a normal part of life and where it is possible to listen to the sounds of nature without the constant intrusion of machine noise and artificial stimuli. We believe in our right to listen, or not listen, to music and other programmed audio, or canned music, according to our own tastes and moods, without having other people's choices forced on us wherever we go. We want to be able to attend movies, eat in restaurants, shop, exercise in health clubs, and go dancing without unreasonably loud amplification of noise. We want our homes to be havens from unwanted noise, and we ask that the soundscape of our public spaces, like the air we breathe, be respected.

The Right to Quiet Society for Soundscape Awareness and Protection is a non-profit organization registered in 1982 under the British Columbia Society Act. We are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organisation. For information on the legal requirements regarding charities, please visit Canada.ca

Read more about Our Goals.

In the flood of noise, we've got to be presumptuous to make a ripple.

- Janet Walker
Newsletter, winter 2006

About the Right to Quiet Society To contact us See our sitemap