Dark Side of Light

By Hiya S.

On March 30, 2019, 188 countries and territories spoke up for our Mother Earth– by the simple flick of a switch. Earth Hour was an event from 8:30- 9:30 p.m. for us — yes, everyone– to speak up for the drastic effects of light pollution on our planet. The organization hopes to increase the number of participating countries each year. Check out Earth Hour’s website for more information. 

According to an article written by Nadia Drake for National Geographic on April 3rd, 2019, light bulbs have stolen the night. Excess light endangers ecosystems by harming dark-reliant animals. In addition, we are losing our  connections with the night sky and stars: the constellations, the awe, and the stillness. As of now, 83% of the world population lives under light-polluted skies.

Light polluted skies are not static in effect to the area directly below. In fact, artificial light traces from bright places like Las Vegas have far-reaching effects 40 miles away. Furthermore, only 20% of the light from street lamps is actually useful to use. The rest is reflected upward or as a glare.

After an earthquake resulted in a power outage in Los Angeles (1994), citizens were shocked to see a mysterious “cloud” appear overhead. What they didn’t know was that the weird object was a band of the Milky Way, obstructed from the glare of city lights. 

Earth Hour’s actions are necessary, and so are yours. We are the first generation to advocate for Earth’s protection, but we may also be the last. Simple actions can make a lasting difference: turn off the light when not in the room, replace outdoor lights with low-glare alternatives, and talk to local representatives about what else you can do. You have a voice. Use it.

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