I'm researching this as a project for school and to everyone who thinks it only affects astronomers, you should think about the environmental costs- it messes up bird migration patterns, it confuses sea turtles, etc, etc. It also will ruin the atmosphere as it wastes money, resources and energy.
-Shelia from MN
Those who just don't or can't pay attention to other forms of life as legitimate can't understand the affect of light pollution on the world around them. There are plenty of night creatures whose habitats would naturally be dark, but instead there are brighter than the moon halogen lights shining from adjacent parking light, street lights. Some lights point right in people's windows as well, and why should a person be forced to close a shutter or curtain when there is such a wonderful peace available from dark? Why are so many people out of touch with our natural surroundings? People seem to prefer so much noise and light that they can't even think, much less see the stars.
Yo yo yo yo, this light pooplution sucks bum cuz I want to look at those bright stars thingies in the sky but I cant. Also I can't see my home planet at night :'( I used to live on Wompilouis but when my parents died they sent me off the space to this so called "Earth." It's Aight but i wanna see home ya know
All of the people stating that light pollution is not a problem are speaking hypothetically about an issue that impacts someone else. When the spotlight is shining in your window all hours of the night, it is a different story. Think about others before stating they should just close drapes.
But it also impacts us directly-
is a risk factor for cancer to people
is a disturbance to animals
is a waste of energy, resources, and money
is a security risk to your property
and obscures our view of the wondrous night sky.
Health effects of over-illumination or improper spectral composition of light may include: increased headache incidence, worker fatigue, medically defined stress, decrease in sexual function and increase in anxiety.
How can anyone argue that we spend a lot of money trying to keep the lights on all night when we don't need to? There really is no benefit to keeping the lights on all night. Do we really need to see McDonald's Golden Arches from miles away all night long? Or a car dealership by the side of highway at 2am? It is very expensive. It affects our every day (or night) lives. If for no other reason, flip the light switch to off to save money. The sky is beautiful. One of the most beautiful gifts from nature. Looking a pictures taken from Hubble online does not even compare to seeing the sky with your own eyes - naked or with assisted viewing from telescopes or binoculars. Why would anyone be supportive of taking that away from us? What benefit is there to keeping the lights on all night? Everyone likes money. Let's all save some money and put it to better use somewhere else.
While light pollution affects astronomers, there are also many significant reasons why this issue should be dealt with. With lighting in moderate to large cities, an incredible amount of light is spilled into the sky, and therefore is wasted. This amounts to billions of dollars each year. All this money could be saved by installing full cutoff fixtures at a very low cost. Additionally, there are health effects on both people and animals. Because of the amount of light spilt and wasted everywhere, it messes with the body's circadian rhythm, creating insomnia and the long term health effects of it. This also wastes money due to the increasing demand on public medical services. The same problem is present in animals.
Light pollution has been found to disrupt circadian rhythm and biological system, contributes to accidents ( glare ) waste energy, generates pollution to create the electricity, and affect wildlife. Those are scientific findings. From an aesthetic standpoint, it's just plain ugly compared to being able to see the stars. We can light what we need far better than how we are currently doing it. If the light as being used correctly, much less would be visible from space, as it would illuminate the intended areas and subjects without requiring as much energy or spilling onto areas that do not want or need the light. The constant exposure to artificial light affects all living creatures negatively.
Whether you believe it or not too much lighting has an affect on us over a period of time. When we are tired it is not hard to fall asleep. In fact, we can often fall asleep anywhere... On a train/bus, on a park bench, at our desk, at a social event, or even behind the wheel of a vehicle. Sometimes we even think that we have had a good night of sleep, but maybe we have not slept much better than when we "fall out" in those odd places and at unexpected times of the day. Perhaps this is because we have not really had a restful and complete sleep.
One of the many obstacles that we have to obtaining adequate restful sleep is lighting. We are all so busy going places and sometimes traveling long distances to work that we don't even notice when the lights got brighter in our environment. Our communities develop, the town puts up new street lights, there are more cars being driven through the neighborhood, and we buy new appliances and gadgets. Without initially noticing, things have gotten brighter.
If you were to take a flight from Maine to Florida at night, there would be no break in the stream of light beaming into the sky from the earth's surface. There are no longer miles of forests or communities that enjoy full night. If you were able to manage to get to a rural enough area, you would notice the difference immediately. Look around your room at night and notice the light from the clock, the T.V. And the cable box (even when they are turned off), the power surge strip, or any of a number of appliances that you may have plugged in, but turned off. If you were to cover them, you would still probably have light coming through the window or the curtain.
Many of us have never spent the night in total darkness so we don't realize that in darkness our bodies really relax and allow for a good night of sleep. In our modern world, we are exposed to light 24 hours a day and we suffer without knowing. We are obese, have high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, poor digestion, depression, and increasing problems with insomnia. Isn't it possible that we are not sleeping well?
Try a few nights with the appliances unplugged and the windows completely covered and darkened. Once you get accustomed to the darkness, you might get some real sleep . Or perhaps a week in the country so that you can see some stars. Maybe you will decide that it is time to turn off the lights.
This problem is about more than seeing stars from your backyard; there's real harm being done to our environment. It confuses many animals and disrupts their biological clocks. To a swan, artificial light equals day, which equals hunting for food. This could lead to an early build up of fat, leading to earlier migrations when egg-laying condition aren't right. Birds are also often confused by the labyrinth of light that are cities. They crash, or just fly until they're exhausted trying to escape. Light pollution caused hundreds of thousand of avian death each year. There's also the matter of sea turtles. When the babies hatch, they are hardwired to head towards the light on the horizon of the ocean, but are often led astray by artificial lights. Animals such as desert rodents and badgers are finding it harder to scavenge under the cover of night due to out perpetual glow. The light at night can also throw off important breeding chorused of frogs and toads. Even harmful to us as links have been found between brighter nights and breast cancer. And, to finish, there really is no equal to gazing at a hundred million suns with your own eyes, than staring at a picture of it on your computer. (cited: http://ngm.Nationalgeographic.Com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text) an interesting and eye-opening read, i might add.
What it the difference? With modern houses all you need to do is close the shutters? How come people don't count stars as light pollution? Well the world is modern and it needs light to live. Would you change your lifestyle and live with no electronic devices? No, because if the world is going to get better we need light to live.
Light pollution is a reversible form of energy. Of all the different types of pollution, light pollution is the most benign. It has an effect on star gazing where astronomers need to be a good distance away from large cities to be able to see clearly at night. But compared to water and air pollution, this is a relatively minor problem.
There will always be pollution in the world. The thing we should be trying to figure out is how to deal with the problem. You will never be able to rid the world of pollution. But, coming up with ways to lessen the pollution, and make it easier for us to live with it, should be worked on.
Of all the different types of pollution, light pollution is the most benign. It has an effect on star gazing where astronomers need to be a good distance away from large cities to be able to see clearly at night. But compared to water and air pollution, this is a relatively minor problem.
Excessive light in larger cities can make it difficult to view astronomical bodies at night, but that is simply a trade off to living in a city. There are plenty of places where a person could live that have good lighting, but sacrificing a view of the stars is just a single factor that one must consider when deciding on living in a city.
For safety reasons, street, building, and other lighting in cities can not be turned off. While, in some areas, there are too many lights, and some can be turned off to save money, but not risk safety, the last thing people are thinking about is light pollution. If you want to star gaze or truly have less light around your home, then you will have to move to the country. Many times, people who promote things like light pollution are doing so without thinking of all the consequences of turning off the lights.
It is the argument of many in our society that "light" pollution is a real problem. However, those who feel this way have little concern for real issues. "Light" pollution is not a problem, as it is harming no one. Lighting is already restricted in residential areas. Thus, this so-called pollution problem is already being dealt with on a reasonable level, and is nothing much to fuss about.
Some people will argue that light pollution is a terrible thing, but it is harmless. We are a race of beings that is constantly expanding. To fit our needs, light is used. The only time that light can be a problem is when people are trying to sleep. If light is that bothersome, then buy some window blinds.
Pollution implies contributing detrimentally to another system's well-being. Light, as in day vs night, is a natural occurrence. Anything else (as light) is artificial. Pollution based on natural light is a joke phrase. Light pollution based on artificial light is either an intentional disruption or something that could be easily managed by a "system" adding curtails or otherwise blocking its interference.
Recent surveys shows that the percentage contribution of light pollution is very small when compared with other forms of pollution. Major type of pollution includes air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution and so on. intensity of harmful effects of light pollution is also less when compared with others.