Light pollution: The truth behind the glow

by Eimy Nakahara

Luminescent sky, dazzling stars, unstoppable clouds make up the widespread universe. From the magic of nitrogen and oxygen it then creates our wonderful source of light that we get gifted from our sky.

As our human population grows and our use of light and electricity increases the danger to our sky also increases. Light pollution affects more than our view of the heavens, research has proved that our lights can also harm our wildlife greatly.

Light affects divergent aspects of animal life. Growth, colouration of plumage, body, migration, reproduction and diapause (a period of suspended development) are affected by light in various insects, birds, fishes, reptiles and mammals. Many animals prefer to remain in dark, while others like hybrids fail to survive in the absence of light.

Common examples include migrating birds sometimes flying over cities and becoming confused by the brightness, flying in circles until they drop from exhaustion. Sea turtles need dark beaches for nesting. Our moths and frogs get attracted by our artificial light resulting in them not being where they should be, concentrating them as a food source to be preyed upon or just resulting in a trap which exhausts and kills them.

How can we reduce our light and how do we protect our wildlife?

Anyone can work towards this goal, we should collectively work towards ensuring our lighting fixtures are as low as possible to avoid glare and prevent light from traveling upward. On an individual level, one can install timers and dimmer switches to assist in avoiding prolonged accidental and unnecessary use of one’s lights while also focusing consciously on light, energy and blue light usage in our homes and offices.

We receive a lot from our atmosphere and we are where we are now thanks to our nature and wildlife. It’s time to stop just taking and start giving back.

Featured image: Nightfall by the Spit Bridge.  Photo: Eimy Nakahara

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