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Listening to Climate Change

Dr. Paige argues that "music can help us imagine distant futures" and that "soundscapes invite us to attend to both who and what is creating certain sounds ... as well as how our reactions to environmental sounds can drive us toward certain kinds of behaviors."

Published onJan 15, 2022
Listening to Climate Change


This podcast discusses three approaches to recording, studying, and presenting narratives about the sounds of environmental change from 1850 to today. It questions how and why music and sound offer distinct opportunities for studying environmental change, and what these media can provide to us that other forms of intervention cannot. 

Kirsten Paige, Ph.D., is an assistant teaching professor of musicology at NC State. Prior to coming to NC State, she was a postdoctoral fellow in music at Stanford University for three years, and earned her degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. 2018), University of Cambridge (M.Phil. 2012) and University of Chicago (A.B. 2011). She also studied double bass at the Juilliard School from the ages of 13 to 18. Dr. Paige's work explores how scientific knowledge reshaped musical practices and aural cultures in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Her essays have appeared in journals including The Cambridge Opera Journal, Opera Quarterly, 19th-Century Music, and Journal of the Royal Musical Association. Her first book, "Richard Wagner’s Political Ecology," is under contract with the University of Chicago Press.

Listening to Climate Change (Kirsten S. Paige)

This video was originally produced for an audience of entering first-year and transfer students at NC State University as a part of an interdisciplinary experience. It is available for noncommercial reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial 4.0 License,



  1. Dr. Paige's publications on Wagner and climate.

  2. Bernie Krause’s “Great Animal Orchestra,” self-guided audio tour of environments Krause has recorded over time.

  3. This is What Extinction Sounds Like” (Krause clips in podcast are taken from this video).

  4. National Park Service Sound Map.

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