Night Lights And Negative Impacts

First off I ain’t dead yet despite some of the assumptions 🙂 Life just has a way of keeping you too damn busy at times. Now back to the scheduled programming.

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a computational tool that enhances, and I quote: “our understanding about the relationship between human activities and socio-economic factors at a global scale”

Interestingly it shows a direct negative correlation, where the existence of heavy night lighting influences some things we may never have thought of. Not to mention some reasons I highlighted from this post a while back :

The researchers noted that locations with heavy night light activity suffered from, and again I will quote, though note my interjections in parenthesis: “Higher electricity consumption and CO2 emissions (obviously). Correlations with population, N2O (nitrous oxide), and CH4 (methane) emissions were still slightly less pronounced (compared to previous research) and, as expected, there was an inverse correlation between the brightness of lights and of poverty.” That little factoid there about increased poverty levels lining up with increased night lighting surprised me. Though I suppose it does make sense when you think about it.

I should also note that the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in these brightly lit areas is also higher which I suppose is a good thing, but the question in my mind remains, is it worth all of the negatives to achieve the positive? And is it really necessary to keep these areas brightly lit at night? There are a lot of good reasons not to do that. Just no one seems to care… As I was outside just last night observing Jupiter and a few other astronomical objects, I’m one of those who do care, and I guess this is my soapbox.

Source material here:

On a side note I may have enough pics to get another Picture Day day up, but I have to get the time and energy to do it all. I will work on it. Finally, I hope this post finds you all well and getting along just dandy 🙂

Light Pollution

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Light pollution, for those of you who may have not heard, is the result of all of us humans who are afraid of the dark. These millions of people, afraid of the damn dark, insist on having their porch lights on from dusk till dawn, and never give a moments thought to the “insecurity lights” (a so called security light that comes on at night, giving some perception of security) that burn away all hours of the night.

Zillions of streetlights lining the streets and highways. For what? Do we not have lights on our cars? Parking lots with unshielded lighting, light blazing away long after the store has closed. Why? Stores with no one in them, lights on 24/7. Why? Does anyone even think? Not only about the light pollution here, but what about the cost? How much money does the electric company need to make?

Is anyone aware that for thousands, nay millions of years, the creatures of the night have not needed artificial lighting to find their way? No, I think the bat and the opossum and the hoot owl have done just fine without them.

Is anyone aware that all of this light actually disrupts nocturnal habits for wildlife?

Is anyone aware that due to all of this light the stars are washed out so that they can’t be seen from most cities? Does anyone even look up enough anymore to care?

I do. I have been an amateur astronomer for many years. I’m always looking up. I have neighbors though who are afraid of the dark. Their outdoor lighting makes it darn near impossible anymore for me to enjoy the hobby. The light is a hideous monstrosity that is the bane of astronomers everywhere. It ruins dark adaptation, it bounces off the vinyl siding and lights up my yard to the point I could read a newspaper out there at midnight.

Safety. That word is the mainstay of the light polluter. “The lights make us safe.” Do they? No, they do not. Study after study tends to show that lighting only makes it easier for criminals to see what they are doing. So, no. Night lighting makes no one safer. The only thing lighting at night does is assuage the deluded. Those poor bastards who are merely afraid of the dark. And ain’t got the gonads to admit it.

So, what brought forth my ire this fine scorching June day? A story posted at one of my favorite haunts, Science Daily. Put out by the fine folks at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Entitled : “Milky Way Now Hidden From One Third Of Humanity.”

Now a lot of people know of the Milky Way. A bright band of stars and dust that streaks through the sky at night. This band of stars actually being one of the arms of our galaxy. There are literally a thousand treasures of the night sky hidden away in the wondrous galactic arm. I know, I have seen them. Many people have never even seen the Milky Way.

Several years ago one of my brats had some friends over, it was a clear, beautiful evening. I had my big scope out in the yard all setup and cooled down. So I invited the kids out. When they came outside I said “Behold, the Milky Way.” And I pointed it out, and showed them how it streaks across the sky. One of them actually gasped in awe. She had never seen the Milky Way. There are so many poor, lost, misguided souls who have never taken the time to look up on a clear night.

With the advent of modern light pollution, and with the general trend getting worse, the night sky, which I consider a treasure of humanity, is ever receding away. To be lost forever for our kind. This treasure of humanity lost because people are afraid of the dark.

This first link is to the “Milky Way Now Hidden From One Third Of Humanity” story. The following links are all dedicated to the premise that street lights make no one any safer.

Lighting, Crime and Safety

Don’t be afraid of the dark. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Look up. You might see something that inspires you. You might find some serenity. You might be humbled by the vastness of the universe. There is nothing to fear in the darkness. Only fear itself.

Turn off those damned lights! 🙂