Once considered unalterable, the darkness between sundown and sunup governed all earthly life forms. Sadly, while we can’t pinpoint the exact moment we lost it, the dark disappeared anyway.
Artificial light makes natural sleep and wake cycles less relavent, allowing us to shop, work or play 24/7, but such round-the-clock convenience comes at high costs. Always on, lights create pollution in our indoor and outdoor spaces, and present health hazards to all creatures. Even the American Medical Association was alarmed enough to issue an official warning about its harmful effects.
Exposure to unending brightly lit wakefulness sacrifices restorative sleep. Sleepiness while driving or operating heavy machinery is a known hazard, but light pollution is also implicated in hormone-related cancers, and in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, sleep disorders, and depression.
Furthermore, while obliterating our view of the stars, light pollution:
- Disrupts the feeding, mating and sexual development of mammals, insects, amphibians and/or fish;
- Confuses and drives migratory birds into brightly lit buildings, killing around a billion North American birds annually;
- Endangers beneficial insect populations;
- Drives newly hatched sea turtles fatally off course;
- Adversely affects plants and the fauna dependent upon them;
- Worsens air pollution, since air-scrubbing microorganisms, activated only by darkness, are disabled by artificial light.
Next installment, learn about how we can protect ourselves from the worst types of light pollution, and join the “Be Green Show” at the Holly Community Centre, April 20, 2019, and green up your life!