Even the insurance business is taking note of light pollution these days. What is light pollution? Many people don’t know and some that have heard of it often dismiss it as a few crack pots around the world talking nonsense.
Others don’t want to face the problem of light pollution because they fear how it may impact the economic wheel of their business, city, region or country. While the truth is not addressing it is costing everyone in many different ways. It’s a slow killer for humans (disease/cancer), disruptive to wildlife and plant species and a threat to an important natural resource – our night sky.
Light pollution can be a hazard to our health. Just about every organism on the planet lives its life according to the rhythms of daytime and darkness.
Excessive light can cause several human health problems. Chronic fatigue, migraines, sexual dysfunction and even cancer have been linked to high-levels of light exposure. Predator/prey dynamics are imbalanced and plant species nocturnal development are impeded.
It also hits everyone hard in the pocket book — in the United States alone 22,000 gigawatt-hours a year are wasted due to light pollution. At a conservative average of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour, the cost of that wasted energy is $2.2 billion a year.
Unused lights left on overnight, such as those in office buildings or empty parking lots, waste energy, and for no reason. This type of illumination contributes to the general sky glow of the city, wastes energy and creates the conditions for negatively impacting our health.
Being dark-sky friendly does not mean ‘no light,’ it means using the light that you need for a particular task in the most efficient manner possible.
Knowledge is power. Can you make a change and help reduce light pollution in your city and around your home?
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My story began more than 40 years ago looking up at the Moon with a small collapsible telescope my Father had. Encouraged by my parents, who bought me my very own telescope, a 4.5″ reflector, I began to explore the night sky from my family home backyard. Today I do astrophotography from my home in Kitchener, Ontario and also with remote telescopes located in New Mexico and Australia. Some of my images have won awards and have been featured online and in magazines.
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