Bill Ford, is the universe trying to tell you something?

World Listening Day 2016 | On July 1, I received an email from Ford Social that announced a kind of "tie in" with Ford and national parks that immediately brought a smile to my face. And it made me wonder - do you suppose the universe could be trying to tell Ford something?

Or perhaps trying to tell Bill Ford 1 2 3 4 something?

You have to admit, the signs are there - and when the universe is trying to tell you something, they say that there are three things you should do if you are ready to receive the message.

Pay attention.

What Ford Social - and Ford Motor Company - seem to have missed is the fact that the National Park Service has been working on soundscape awareness and protection for some time now. And included in that effort is a campaign encouraging people - including car owners - to minimize their noise footprint - including specifically not using audible door locking technology.

Don't ignore the obvious.

The Ford Vietnam anti-honking campaign encourages us to think before we honk and frames non-emergency horn honking as the anti-social sound that it is. How can the same company that seeks to reduce horn honking in one culture continue to manufacture cars with multiple non-emergency uses for the horn in another culture? Which is it? Is it harmful and anti-social, or is it socially acceptable?

Listen to your heart.

On which side of this debate do you see yourself? On which side do you want to be?

The thoughtful, considerate side? The forward thinking side? The citizen scientists' side?

Or the side of those who don't care if they wake people up?

How does the concept of lock alert horns waking people up square with your environmental values and ideals?

This year's World Listening Day theme of sounds lost and found reminds us of sounds that we have lost and found. The "lost" for me are a combination of urban and natural sounds - my favorites are the wind in the trees and distant highway sounds. Now I listen to those sounds via YouTube videos! My windows are closed to reduce vehicle lock alert sounds.

While some hospital departments incorporate efforts to reduce alarm and alert sounds, others find more and more scenarios for alarms, many of which are missed. And people who live along bus routes can attest to the shrill, steady alert sound that now heralds every passenger's entry and exit.

There is no easier or more justified means of improving the environment than to eliminate and reduce audible vehicle alerts, replacing them with newer, smarter, clearly effective signaling methods. Leaving it up to the end user hasn't worked. Automakers need to fix this problem and to do so quickly. Any automaker that aligns itself with national parks needs to get on board and position itself on the side of those who are working towards soundscape awareness and protection.

Bill Ford, the universe is trying to tell you something. Are you ready to listen?

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