Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife
Wildlife biologists and others are studying the light pollution effects on wildlife and their work has been picking up steam during the past ten years or so. Books are being written, peer-reviewed articles are appearing in respected periodicals. And this is happening around the world. May the force be with us!
Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife – birds and insects and turtles, oh my!
Migrating birds may be the first to be tracked and studied, along with insects, sea turtles and other inhabitants of the sea, and nocturnal animals of all kinds. In these articles we can learn how they are being harmed by too much light. All that light becomes too confusing. Or where they used to forage is over-lit and now they are at risk of being eaten themselves. The birds and other wildlife cannot see the moon when everything around them is too bright. In fact, conventional outdoor lights are 10 times brighter than the moon.
Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife – we have the power
We cannot be too discouraged by all of this. Instead of discouragement, we are happier when we feel encouraged by better outcomes. The most wonderful part of this equation is that we are human and they are wildlife. We have the capability to do what must be done to create a planet safe for all creatures.
Toronto has a lights out law to help reduce the effect of light pollution on migrating birds. We must applaud them for making an effort to prevent massive numbers of birds from smashing into tall buildings at night as they fly towards...
Susan Elbin, Director of Conservation and Science at NYC Audubon, and colleagues published a paper today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results of their yearly tally of birds in the lights between 2008 and 2016, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.1 million migrating birds were affected by the light. Within 20 minutes of the lights going on the number of birds right there goes from 500 to 15,000.
Morgantown, West Virginia (right over the state line, directly south of Pittsburg) is getting new street lights. The LED lamps direct the light downward rather than all around in multiple directions. Not only will this benefit the animals, insects and birds in the area, the directed light is designed to prevent stray light from entering windows in high rise apartment buildings. The new fixtures were chosen to keep the style of the historic downtown intact.
An essay about light pollution and animals, including humans, entitled "The Health Effects of a World without Darkness" by Rebecca Boyle was first published in Aeon, I believe in 2009. It now appears in The Best American Science and Nature...
Did you know we have something in common with birds? And no, I'm not talking about our mutual love of trees. Both birds and humans can suffer from health problems as a result of excessive light. This isn't an issue new to this website, but I think it's important to...