Quiet Conversation on Policy

Engaging leaders and citizens to consider policies and solutions for a quieter, cleaner world.

The noisy world we live in today — trains, planes, cars, outdoor power equipment, sirens, horns, loud restaurants and more — is threatening public health and environment. It’s akin to “secondhand smoke,” involuntarily exposing people to harm that goes far beyond hearing damage to diseases like cardiovascular disease, psychological disturbances, endocrine disorders, and disruption to cognition and learning.

The communications we receive from different parts of the country indicate the need for governments at all levels to address environmental noise-related problems.

The Quiet Conversation on Policy (QCoP) was formed to help citizens engage with leaders in government to develop policies and programs that will bring about a quieter, cleaner world.  QCI is uniquely prepared to help communities do this and to connect with and learn from each other.

QCoP is a program of the non-profit organization, Quiet Communities, Inc.

One topic QCoP will address is Gas-powered Leaf Blowers (GLBs) and other Small Off-Road Engines (SOREs). GLBs are a considerable source of distress and concern to citizens around the country and globally, and a growing source of concern for scientific and health care agencies, including the US Centers for Disease Control. Approximately 150 communities in the US regulate their use and many more have tried. Much of the attention is focused on their deafening noise and impacts on the health of workers and the public. Other concerns exist around their toxic emissions, ground-sourced particulates, and toxic waste and spillage.

Citizens frequently leap to proscriptive regulation as the solution. However, history has shown that while regulation can be an effective, it can also at the outset generate anger and conflict.  If communities begin with actions such as education and demonstration of quieter technologies, consensus can be generated that will make passage of regulation far easier. 

Communities should also have a clear understanding of their choices in regulatory design, or they may end up with ineffective programs.   

QCoP will help decision makers, citizens, and thought leaders formulate collaborative, constructive solutions that can stand the test of time.

Some of the topics to be addressed will include:

  • Community organizing
  • Framing the issue
  • Identifying key audiences and perspectives
  • Solution options and their requirements
    • Technology-based
    • Lead by example
    • Regulatory options
  • Implementing solutions
  • Existing models
  • What has worked
  • What can be done to optimize the approach
  • Best practices
  • Engaging diverse audiences

Using this as a first topic, QCoP will go on to address other noise topics.


Rick Reibstein, JD, Director, QCoP, a program of Quiet Communities, Inc.

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