What is light
All of the following are forms of light pollution:
shining directly into your eyes, causing discomfort and reducing
your ability to see.
trespass:Light falling where it is not needed or
wanted--for example, spilling over onto your property or into your
that’s on when it needn’t be; lighting that’s
excessively bright; unshielded lighting that spills out and upward
instead of being directed at its intended subject.
glow:The result of upward-shining light, which is
reflected off moisture and dust particles in the atmosphere to illuminate
the nighttime sky and wash out all but the brightest stars. See
Why should it
Wasted light wastes money.
It has been estimated that a third of outdoor lighting spills out
and upward, totally wasted; a conservative calculation of the cost
comes to around $4.5 billion annually. Added to that figure is the
waste from excessively bright lighting and the 100% waste from lighting
that’s on when it needn’t be. You are paying the price
through higher taxes for public lighting and inflated costs for
consumer products and services.
light causes unnecessary air pollution.
for lighting is generated by burning coal and oil. Every year this
process spills out billions of tons of sulfur dioxide (an ingredient
of acid rain), carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), and smog-causing
light squanders irreplaceable natural resources.
waste just from unshielded lighting has been estimated at more than
8 million tons of coal or 30 million barrels of oil.
pollution creates unnecessary hazards.
from bad roadway and roadside lighting that blinds a motorist, even
momentarily, can be fatal; older Americans are particularly at risk.
The eye takes time to adjust from excessive brightness (common at
gasoline service stations) to less bright areas (as you pull out
onto the darker roadway). Impaired vision during such “transient
adaptation” can pose hazards for pedestrians as well.
outdoor lighting may reduce the fear of crime, it can also attract
their tasks and creating deep shadows to hide in. In 1977 and again
in 1997, investigations by the U.S. Justice Department concluded
that there is no meaningful evidence that street lighting affects
the level of crime.
pollution can harm plants and animals.
All earth’s creatures have evolved over thousands of years
by adapting to a world that is dark at night. The loss of true darkness
can alter the growth cycle of trees, weakening them and making them
more susceptible to disease and severe weather. Birds, fish, frogs,
moths, and plankton are just some of the animals whose behavior
has been shown to be affected by increasing nighttime light--often
with disastrous results.
glow is obliterating the stars.
Satellite images show one huge blob of light running down the Eastern
seaboard almost solidly from Maine to Virginia; the epidemic of
wasted uplight has become so severe that two thirds of Americans
can no longer see the Milky Way. A dark sky full of shimmering stars
is a thing of great beauty--a source of inspiration and information
to diverse cultures across the centuries. Shouldn’t we preserve
it for ourselves and for our children?
Source of above:
How can you help?
1. Learn more about the
problem in New York.
It’s easy to eliminate any light pollution that may be
coming from your property.
a) If an outdoor light is aimed down and the bulb fully recessed
inside a cap or shield, stray rays will not escape into the sky
or onto your neighbor’s property.
b) If you have any dusk-to-dawn lighting, a motion-sensor control
will save money on your electric bill and be more effective at discouraging
intruders. To compare operating costs of different lights used with
or without motion-sensor contols, try the online
3. Encourage your neighbors
and the businesses you deal with to do the same!
4. Contact your state
and local government representatives and let them know you support
legislation and building code amendments requiring fully shielded
For additional information:
International Dark-Sky Association
3225 North First Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719
For an excellent detailed guide on light pollution click here-> elightspot.
Support the current New
York Anti Light Pollution Legislation,
The Healthy, Safe, and
Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act (bill S3003 in the State
Senate) or similar legislation being currently reviewed. This legislation would begin to curb light
pollution in the your state by mandating fully shielded fixtures for
streetlighting and on government property and by providing a basis
for resolving light trespass complaints.
to the Senate are
extremely important to help counter well-funded opposition by the
utilities that profit from wasted light and the manufacturers who
have been slow to develop the types of fixtures that curtail waste,
glare, and trespass. Please write to your State senator today and,
for maximum impact, send copies of your letter to your state Senator, state Majority Leader and your Governor. Addresses and
letter are available on the "LP Legislation"
page of the SELENE Website.
To really have your voice carry, there's also a postcard there you
can download, print, and distribute to your friends and neighbors.
Please contact the NY State Citizens Services line at phone # (518) 474-1041 with your comments or this simple
message. "I'm a New York State voter. Please support The
Healthy, Safe, and Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting Act."
For all other
Not sure who your state
legislator's are? To get contact information, or to locate your
state senator go to http://www.senate.state.ny.us/.
Click on the "Senators" button on the Senate Home Page, then click
on "Senate Lookup by Zip Code". To find your assembly member go
Look under "Your Assembly Member" for "Click Here to Search by Zip
The Sierra Club is a nonprofit member-supported,
public interest organization that promotes conservation of the natural
environment by influencing public policy decisions -- legislative,
administrative, legal, and electoral.
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