May 31, 2009

Against Car Alarms

I loathe car culture without apology. Returning to the US has forced me to interact with the private automobile more than I'd like. You're probably thinking that this is going to turn into some bicycle supremacy rant. Or that I'm going to lament the drastic cuts to public transit that take effect on SF Muni tomorrow (bad news!). But no, this is yet another post from the naturalist in me.

Last night I heard a bird mock a car alarm at 2 AM. Perhaps it was my overly empathetic ears, but he sounded as though he struggled to break the repetitions as the tones tilted and varied, perfectly replaying the cacophony meant to protect a person's property from other people. How about protecting the rest of us from noise pollution? How about protecting or simply respecting birds and wildlife that have to hear all of our racket?

In London, I would notice on my long rides home at night, particularly from Finsbury Park to Peckham, that birds sang at night. In fact, there are papers on these phenomena as birds sing at night because they cannot hear each other during the day. Another paper indicates that birds in urban areas have a lower motivation to sing in areas with anthropogenic noise pollution. So we have some evidence that birds are affected by all of our urban or industrial noise. They've come up with some strategies such as singing at night and using very high pitched calls.

Then there's the car alarm, a nuisance if ever one existed. As this recession hits harder, I expect that there will be more theft of everything. And yet anyone with a car alarm should disable it. This is our collective planet. You want a car. I want birds to sing they're own songs, not creepy renditions of an overly sensitive alarm at 2 AM. I'm betting the birds and most of your neighbors are with me. Democracy says destroy your alarm!


rupiawan said...

I strongly support the idea, remember the man with God, life in the world will be peaceful, why hurt another person is the action that is not true

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Sounds like a plan. Great post.

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unknowndevice said...

i just had to sit through what would have been a beautiful thunderstorm, if not for the alarms the rolling thunder and crackling lightening kept tripping. this is one of the few anti-car alarm hits i found with a quick google search. seems like there should be more people out there who despise these horrible and useless devices, but at least it's a start.

if this becomes a grassroots thing, maybe we could add silencing keyless entry systems too?

familytram said...

I agree with the idea as well. Car alarm is sometimes annoying.