Light Pollution: What it means to us and generations to come

Our night sky is disappearing

Many of us can recall at least one time when we were able to view the night sky and see wonders like Milky Way shown above. For a lucky few of us living far from city lights this may be a more frequent occurrence. Unfortunately, for the majority, the only celestial lights we see on a regular basis are the moon and a few of the brightest stars. I hope the loss of such a night sky is justification alone to take action, but it’s not the only thing us and future generations lose out on because of light pollution.

More than losing a star filled night

Living in the city, any city, it’s easy to let the bright lights distract us from what we are really giving up in replace of them. Although the Seinfeld skit above is comical, our mental health and even physical health is indeed affected by poorly used artificial light. If we go beyond ourselves and look at the effects light pollution has on our environment and ecosystems we can vividly see that light pollution is more than a loss of seeing stars.

How do we reduce light pollution?

Regardless of how you look at it, light pollution does affect us and our environment; so what do we do to change things for ourselves and for generations to come? If you’re reading this and learning more about light pollution you’re doing the very first thing you need to do. Second, we need everyone else to become aware of light pollution. Events like Earth Hour (an hour each year where millions of people turn off their lights) and organizations like the IDA (International Dark-Sky Association) can help us get the word out. Get involved and help others understand what light pollution is so we can all make efforts towards reducing it. Finally, reduce your own light pollution by making more responsible choices when it comes to lighting. Be considerate of where and how your lights are being directed through the use of proper fixtures, use more efficient LED lights along with lighting controls to reduce over-illumination, and determine how much light and what type of light is needed to again avoid over-illumination as well as light cluttering (excessive groupings of lights that confuse and distract humans and wildlife). If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, or would like to know about other resources on light pollution, please leave a comment or email me personally at joshp@birddogdistributing.com.