Change the World Wednesday – 7th May

toilet-humor-flushedI’ve had a dodgy belly since Monday, it’s improving.

So I haven’t really any news updates, my mind has been elsewhere, mainly in the throne room.

I’ll spare you the grisly details and move right along.

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This week’s CTWW.

Light Pollution

Did you know that artificial outdoor lights affect the environment? Beyond the use of energy, they affect plants and animals.

Light pollution is totally preventable.

This week, reduce light pollution. Here are some suggestions:

  • Turn off indoor lighting which isn’t necessary. In rooms where lights are required, be sure to close the curtains so that the glow doesn’t escape outdoors.
  • Install a motion detector on outdoor security lighting.
  • Use lights only when necessary … avoid dusk-to-dawn lighting (for example, a porch light doesn’t need to be on all night).
  • Lower the wattage on outdoor lights (a 300 watt flood light is not necessary).
  • Light only what needs to be lit. For example, if you need a front porch light, be sure that it lights the door and not the entire yard.
  • Use full cutoff, low-glare fixtures (also called night sky friendly outdoor lighting fixtures). These fixtures direct the light to the ground. They typically have a cap, on top, which restricts the glow from affecting the sky or other areas.
  • Instead of a light for your driveaway, consider reflectors.
  • Share information on your blog and/or with your friends … many people don’t know the problems with light pollution.

 

Globally, we light up the planet every night.

light-pollution

When you consider that, it means there is a lot of confused bugs out there.

Looking at Small’s list:

I do turn off unused lights in the house, but I don’t have curtains. Generally the nights here are hot and you need the windows open for the air to circulate.

I have only one outdoor light. Three fittings, but I only use one. It is on only when needed. It is a low wattage CFL bulb in the carport, so it has little upward reflection.

No driveway, problem solved.

Personal Story

There is another aspect to light pollution that Small hasn’t covered and that is the ability to see the night sky. The light pollution in the cities prevents you from seeing the starlight.

Years ago, when I was a tour guide in Bolivia, one of the first stops was Uyuni in the southwest. The trip involved an overnight visit to the Salar de Uyuni; a beautiful place.

Looking across the salt lake from Isla de Pescadores

Looking across the salt lake from Isla de Pescadores

After the salt lake trip we ventured on and overnighted in a small adobe village called Alota. Really it should have been named Notalota.

Before we reached Alota, I had told the tourists to look up as soon as the stepped out of our trucks. We always arrived about 8pm, total darkness.

Alota had no power, no lights, no light pollution. There was no man-made light source for hundreds of kilometres.

As they got out and looked up, there were just gasps; “Oh, wow!”

My tourists were generally city-dwellers, and they’d never seen the night-sky without pollution. Now they were looking at ‘virgin’ sky, the Milky Way looked as though someone had painted it white.

The Milky Way from the Uyuni salt lake, the view was even better from Alota

The Milky Way from the Uyuni salt lake, the view was even better from Alota

These people had never seen so many stars before, they had never imagined that there were so many stars.

Light pollution not only adversely affects the environment, it also stunts our own understanding our our place in the universe.

When you are standing in the dark in the middle of nowhere looking up at the night sky, you succumb to the realisation of how insignificant man is.

 

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