The years since the turn of the millennium have seen an increasing number of sound
artists engaging with contemporary environmental issues such as biodiversity loss,
sustainability and climate change through their work, forming a growing movement of
environmentally concerned sound art; however, their work has yet to achieve the
recognition enjoyed by comparable environmentalist practices in almost every other
art form. This article argues that this increasingly significant area of sound arts
practice should be recognised as a distinct field in its own right, and proposes that
it be termed ‘ecological sound art’, reflecting its equivalent in the visual arts.
After establishing its current absence from both ecocritical and sound arts
scholarship, it proceeds to outline some of the core approaches which characterise
works of ecological sound art, as the first step towards its establishment as a
coherent field of practice. The final section draws from key works of contemporary
ecological theory, examining the fundamental accord that exists between the new modes
of thought they propose and the ways in which we experience and relate to sound art,
demonstrating that ecological sound art represents not only a significant new field
of sound arts practice, but also a powerful ecological art form.