21 November 2011
Take Back the Night
The excessive use of artificial lighting is a commonly overlooked source of pollution that affects the entire planet. We don’t notice this form of pollution because humans are drawn to shiny objects and bright lights. Maybe it is our fear of the dark or the unknown that drove our ancestors nearer to the campfire. They knew the light kept predators away and the heat gave them warmth. Perhaps it is in our DNA to seek out the brightest habitat. This bargain for security has a cost attached to it. The trade has disconnected us from the night skies, and devastated our natural environment; although, despite the health risks, some people enjoy the bright lights of the city.
There was a time when our connection to the night skies was stronger. Our ancestors looked towards the stars and imagined gods and animals amongst the far off suns. Hundreds of thousands of stars, even our own Milky Way Galaxy was easily seen with the naked eye. Presently, this natural wonder has been greatly diminished. According to Globeatnight.org, “skyglow” is one of the main sources of light pollution, and it “is the combination of all the reflected light and upward-directed (unshielded) light escaping up into the sky” (Source 1). The effect of skyglow robs us of our view of the stars. Now, only the smallest fraction of the brightest stars and planets are visible at night.
In addition to ruining and obscuring our own enjoyment of the night skies, Light pollutions is having a...