Monday, December 8, 2014

The Strange Scourge of Light Pollution

Light pollution is all around usin our cities, in our skies, even in our eyes. Neon signs blaring with messages trying to catch our attention, headlights shining in your rear-view mirror, street lamps with a glare that goes for miles. Why is all this light necessary? Truth be told, it isn't. Much of the light around you is going to waste, dispersed into the sky where it doesn't do any good. In fact, it does quite a bit of damage. Many animals, including birds, bats, and sea turtles, rely on dark skies to orient themselves and often move toward light sources which are artificial, not natural. 

The International Dark-Sky Association, or IDA, is one of many organizations facilitating a transition toward an environment-friendly, economy-friendly skyscape. The installation of IDA-approved light fixtures can save millions of dollars per year, not to mention improving the stargazing opportunities and protecting otherwise vulnerable wildlife. In contrast with other types of pollution, such as noise pollution, it is much easier to adjust policy and practice in such a way that light pollution can be significantly reduced. Get involved with your community, send them to the IDA, and save money while saving the skies.