HOW WOULD BE THE WORLD WITHOUT PERPETUAL GLOW ?
“Sometimes you need darkness to see things better.”
Have you ever wondered what would happen if, suddenly, all public lights go off ? The whole network of cities in the darkness without glowing, shinning and inviting to participate in life. That would be completely new world that would indeed cause a bit of discomfort and unpleasant feelings. The dark world that live on sustainability, eco perspective and saving of power. That new constellation would bring also the completely another level of safety and the human contemplation of public security.
It is confirmed that light pollution is a serious global problem because it doesn’t include only the never-ending street lamps all over the globe but also the advertising boards, flood lights and general home light systems that are constantly on. Actually, about 80% of the world we know lives in the artificial light at the moment of deep darkness.
The history of street lamps originated in the 15th century with the purpose to brighten up the streets in dark winter, in London and Paris. At the beginning there were lamps and lanterns but later with Edison discovery, electric lamps get the popularity. It is interesting but street lights didn’t just support visibility but brought safety and was there as a prevention against crime. In the darkness, crime manages to develop strongly than it is the case in the world with lights. It doesn’t surprise that there are many studies that connect rise of crime with rise of darkness or lack of light. They are deeply linked to each other and you can count that there where darkness is, you will have to deal with more chances for criminal minds to act. It has been the trend since the ancient times.
One research in NYC confirmed the following :”The lights study found that the developments that received new lights experienced crime rates that were significantly lower than would have been the case without the new lights. Among other findings, the study concluded that increased levels of lighting led to a 36% reduction in ´index crimes´ — a subset of serious felony crimes that includes murder, robbery and aggravated assault, as well as certain property crimes — that took place outdoors at night in developments that received new lighting, with an overall 4% percent reduction in index crimes.” The situation in NYC is not the only one because many urban areas have the similar statistic. The presence of public light is the main base for less criminal actions. Now, when we know that, how we can make a successful balance among benefits for nature and animals, ecological purpose of saving electricity and human safety ?
What could be the most important indicator ? Awareness about the needs of nature and wildlife, sustainability in electricity industry or human safety and reducing of crime possibility? Personally, I believe all those issues are equally crucial and must be taken into serious consideration. Maybe we cant have all at the same time but we can respect all of them and follow the balanced policy in between. The question is how would be that possible ?
The public light that is the constant topic in the age of electricity crisis is actually easy to solve. Why this public light is always on ? Some cities confirmed they will work on reducing of street lights and it is already happening in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, This is reactivated by the electricity measures and costs but commercial light are definitely worth of shutting down at night. The permanent light terror, for advertising purpose is more than aggressive and unnecessary. Why the shops choose to have glow all the time ? It is not just about their safety but about attracting potential consumers or keeping them interested. You never know when you will have a new customer so keep it on glowing. The consumerism nowadays doesn’t care about migratory birds that die due to the public light wrong orientation or not even worried about the health problems of humans, caused by constant light. It is unhealthy.
The world is with polluted skies and especially over the 99% of the European and US populations. The light pollution is growing twice at twice the rate of global population increase and making a perfect foundation for incest apocalypse, disfiguring the life of many insects and their standard behaviour. Not only that, the light pollution is disturbing the ecosystem and animals, causing the revision of sleep patterns, mating habits and food orientation , it also affects human health and schedule. This is pretty much underrated but it is a severe reason for a concern. We are constantly under the impact of light and that kind of artificial light is not healthy and have an impact on our internal body processes, sleep vibes and behaviour frames. Our exposure to the artificial light is linked, with no doubt, to the many illnesses like diabetes, mood disorders and increased risks of many kinds of cancer. The people that do not have break from artificial lights are keeping their organisms in stress and panic. The fact is, we need darkness to relax, to let our bodies to find comfort and our mind to get into tranquility zone. If you think that being under light all the time is healthy approach, you are definitely wrong.
Natural darkness is nothing bad or scary. It is really needed for all of us. Thats why it exists. There are many initiatives to protect dark skies and organise cities to follow strategy for reducing of public lights or limitation of them. At least, handling the commercial lights under the control would help and reduce the costs, artifical light aggression and pressure on the nature, animals and human health. Somehow, people are always connecting the absence of light with the presence of evil and danger but it is not always that. The natural darkness is not your enemy but your friend. People could be cruel in the light as well as in the darkness but light pollution at this time is everything but not good and beneficial.
So, yes, I am welcoming more than ever the reconnecting with nature and ecosystem and accepting the natural darkness without being forced to accept the consequences of light pollution, especially due to the commercial lights and advertising horror. When we think how much we would save by just turning off those lights of many business buildings? It is screaming on us, it is somehow so aggressive that I do not have enough deserving words. I believe that people are afraid of darkness but they need to understand that crime is enjoying the light as well. The natural darkness is something that is not invented by humans but it is not against our health and welfare. If we think of ourselves we also think of the benefits of nature and wildlife. Nobody could be happy with forced light pollution because sometimes you see the most beautiful stars only through the darkest hours.
One thought on “THE LIGHT POLLUTION: BETWEEN NATURE AND SAFETY”
Sarah’s highly-relative and informative article reminded me of the evolution of artificial light on the planet…
Archaeological evidence reveals that prehistoric humans were using oil lamps by circa 15000 BCE and that use of fire torches dates to around 400,000 years ago. Evidence of candles reaches back to 12000 BCE. Humans began using shimmering surfaces of geological formations (e.g. malachite) as a resource of artificial light circa 40,000 years ago.
So, artificial light pollution has been around for about half a million years (i.e. pollution from sunlight [e.g. radiation] predates all artificial light pollution). Though, the populations of hominids and subsequent Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, etc., were small (e.g. c. 20,000 around 100,000 years ago), and so the impact of prehistoric artificial light pollution was disproportionate (i.e. higher percentage in a concentrated tribe: most were nomadic).
However, the progenitor of the problems of the present period (i.e. in the context of artificial light pollution across the planetary surface) emerged in prehistoric human behaviours…