Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Light Pollution ABCs

Information is provided by Susan Harder, resident of NYC and East Hampton. She is the Director of the NY State International Dark Sky Association and has been a “dark sky” advocate, working on the issue of night lighting, for eight years. She has helped enact local lighting laws for Suffolk County, Southampton, East Hampton Town and Village, Brookhaven, and Riverhead. She is currently working with Southold’s Renewable Energy Committee to develop a comprehensive lighting law for Southold that will address glare, light trespass, sky glow, and energy waste that is associated with night lighting.

LIGHT POLLUTION occurs when outdoor lighting is misdirected, misplaced, unshielded, excessive or unnecessary. As a result, light spills unnecessarily upward and outward, causing glare, light trespass, and a nighttime urban “sky glow” overhead, indicating wasted energy and obscuring the stars overhead.

Direct your outdoor lights toward the ground and turn them off when not in use. Install shielded fixtures or light bulbs that direct the light only where you need it, adjusting the wattage necessary for the task.

Stand on your property lines and check for light trespassing onto your neighbors’ property. When away, put indoor lamps on timers for security purposes or use an alarm. Outdoor lighting alone will not provide protection from theft, graffiti, or vandalism.

Find out about your local and state outdoor lighting codes. Ask your neighbors to do the same.

Write, call or email your state and local elected officials, urging them to strengthen and enforce outdoor lighting codes and to require businesses, schools, institutions, municipalities, and individuals to comply.
Ask your neighbors to do the same.

Energy conservation through sensible lighting practices means less dollars spent on expensive electricity, and less pollution in generating that energy, primarily by burning fossil fuels.

Bare bulbs cause glare, interfering with night vision, especially for older drivers. Maritime navigators are blinded by off-shore glare which interferes with navigational markers.

The night is full of birds, animals, and fish whose habitats are negatively affected by artificial light. There is evidence that light at night is a health risk for humans, both for sleep deprivation and reduction in tumor suppressing melatonin.

Our stars are a natural resource. For generations before us and after us, with your help, the night sky can remain a source of inspiration, information, and contemplation.
Light Pollution can be eliminated without sacrifice.

For More Information please visit The Dark Sky Society.

1 comment:

Cheryl Marland said...

Hi there,

The more the word gets out about light pollution and the more people become aware of what it is and why it's a problem, the more the problem will continue to be addressed.

Thankfully, it's becoming a major issue in many towns and cities prompting dark sky ordinances and laws.

I have a website dedicated to promoting dark sky outdoor lighting options. If interested, please visit http://outdoorlightingchoices.com.

Cheryl Marland