Siel Ju is a Hollywood socialite with a Ph.D. who discusses her experience with light pollution in a recent article appearing on the Mother Nature Network website. Because light pollution interrupts her sleep, Siel Ju wears an eye mask at night. The excessive lights from local storefronts, street lights and porch lights make slumber very difficult. She longs to vacation in Borrego Springs, California, the second location in the world to receive International Dark Sky Community status.
According to the article, it’s no surprise that people get insomnia from light pollution. When light pollution invades sleeping quarters, it does more than just keep people awake. By disrupting circadian rhythms, light pollution can also cause a host of health disorders like depression and cardiovascular disease. Cancer risks also rise, and cataracts develop at an increased rate. The physical effects have been recognized by the American Medical Association.
These health issues make the community of Borrego Springs, California very appealing. The community’s dark sky friendly lighting, lack of fast-food restaurants and large franchise stores are soothing to anyone seeking a clear night sky. As the article points out, brighter lights do not make a safer community. The contrasting light creates dark shadows that criminals can conceal themselves in. The article offers access to suggestions for reducing light pollution.
As it turns out, even cities with a thriving night life can do a great deal to reduce light pollution. Shielding light fixtures to ensure that light goes downward instead of upward can make a significant difference. In the article, Siel Ju recommends the International Dark-Sky Association’s brochure, “Introduction to Light Pollution” as an excellent resource to learn about the detrimental effects of light pollution and how individual efforts can make a difference in communities.
Reducing light pollution isn’t only about getting better quality sleep and feeling better. It’s about preserving the celestial view of the night sky for others to enjoy. Communities can also save money and energy. Why should the citizens of a community affected by light pollution go on vacation when they can transform their own cities and towns into Dark-Sky communities?