Eco Challenge: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

When you hear the phase “The Soundtrack Of Our Lives”: what comes to mind for you?

Do you have a soundtrack?

What does it sound like?

“The Soundtrack Of Our Lives” – How does your daily life actually sound?

To complete this challenge, you need to switch yourself into “aural observation mode,” which entails the following:

  • If you use any personal technological device (e.g., smartphone, mp3 player, walkman, etc.) that produces music or podcasts or audiobooks (or whatever) through any type of headphones or speakers, turn it off and don’t carry it on your person.
  • If you drive a car, do not listen to the radio or music (or anything through speakers or headphones) in your car.
  • Avoid unnecessary conversations on the telephone, and in person.
  • Practice natural, active, deep listening

“The Soundtrack Of Our Lives” -Complete the challenge….

Find a time at some point to go into aural observation mode for at least 72 hours (total, including sleeping hours).  During this 72-hour time period, take note of all the new sounds you hear as you go about your waking life.

Think about the following questions while you’re in “aural observation mode.”

  • What can you hear that you normally would not with all the aforementioned sonic distractions?
  • Which sounds are still (or you are now made aware are) intruding on the environment, perhaps to the level of distraction?
    • Are they natural, or not?  Such as: air conditioning, dehumidifier, refrigerator, etc.
  • How do you perceive the world differently without sonic distractions?
  • What are the different things you think about without sonic distractions?

At the end of your 72-hour experience, gather your notes and write a quick reflective essay about your whole experience.  Feel free to include any additional media you’d like in your reflection: such as sounds you might have recorded during your 72-hour experience, etc.  As an alternative (or in addition) to writing an essay, you can:

  • create a video of yourself talking about your reflection of the experience, or
  • create a sound recording (like a podcast) of yourself talking about your reflection of the experience

In any case, your reflection should demonstrate critical analysis of your experience during aural observation mode.

Soundtrack: Submit your work!

Once you have completed the challenge, contact the Upper New editorial staff via email ( to receive a private link to submit your project at no cost. 

Should the production quality be suitable, and the content themes appropriate, we will follow up with you to publish the artifacts and a meta-narrative about these Eco Challenge experiences in the Upper New Review.