Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but did you know that light can also be a pollutant? The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Components of light pollution include:
FIGHTING AGAINST LIGHT POLLUTION
Less than 100 years ago, everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky. Now, millions of children across the globe will never experience the Milky Way where they live.
The increased and widespread use of artificial light at night is not only impairing our view of the universe, but it is also adversely affecting our environment, our safety, our energy consumption and our health.
How Bad is Light Pollution?
With much of the Earth’s population living under light-polluted skies, over lighting is an international concern. If you live in an urban or suburban area all you have to do to see this type of pollution is go outside at night and look up at the sky.
According to the 2016 groundbreaking “World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness,” 80 per cent of the world’s population lives under skyglow. In the United States and Europe, 99 per cent of the public can’t experience a natural night! Before and during the 2003 Northeast blackout, a massive power outage affected 55 million people.
For three billion years, life on Earth existed in a rhythm of light and dark that was created solely by the illumination of the Sun, Moon and stars. Now, artificial lights overpower the darkness and our cities glow at night, disrupting the natural day-night pattern and shifting the delicate balance of our environment.
The negative effects of the loss of this inspirational natural resource might seem intangible. But a growing body of evidence links the brightening night sky directly to measurable negative impacts including: