Everything you every wanted to know about light pollution but were afraid to ask.

By
Mortgage and Lending with Citizens First Financial

 Comet

Someday I'd really love to see a comet like this one, wouldn't you?  Light pollution can wreck it all for us. 

One of my good friends and a one time neighbor of mine, Anthony Arrigos of Park City, Utah, has started an endeavor to fix this problem.  Most of the information that follows originated with him, but I have to share the story  about being back in the "hood".  After dark, on many a night, we would walk around the block and bump into Anthony with his huge telescopes out in the middle of the street.  We'd climb the ladder and check out the night skies.   Wow.  It was always educational as well as sometimes amusing.  Because, you see, Anthony was on the constant lookout for ski pollution offenders.  And he had no issues with tromping up someones front steps and unscrewing their lightbulbs.   Which makes as much sense as turning the ignition off a HUMMER thats been idling for four hours.  Anthony isn't one of us faint of heart people whose afraid to take a stand for fear of losing an acquaintance here or there.  Its all for the greater good in his book.

You ought to check out the environmental friendly outdoor lights he sells, as well as his web site. http://www.starrynightlights.com/ but here's a primer on light pollution to get you started.

Light pollution is a problem that affects much of the world's population. Simply put, light pollution is misdirected or misused light generally resulting from an inappropriate application of outdoor lighting.

  1. Light pollution can be seen as the glow above our towns and cities, as the glare that makes it hard to see at night and as the light trespass that shines into our bedrooms at night.
  2. Light pollution is much more than the nuissance that prevents us from seeing stars in the night sky. Light pollution wastes at least $5 billion annually.
  3. Light pollution wastes incredible amounts of our valuable natural resources, consuming hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and hundreds of millions of tons of coal. Light pollution pollutes the air we breath by burning all the oil and coal mentioned above. Air pollution is a problem that impacts large segments of our society.
  4. Light pollution harms nocturnal wildlife with many species being unable to cope with the loss of a dark night environment.
  5. Light pollution even harms humans, being linked to a number of very serious ailments.

Fortunately, light pollution is also one of the easiest environmental pollutants to remedy. By following the few simple steps outlined below, we can dramatically reduce the effects of light pollution on our planet.

Light Responsibly
This sounds incredibly simple, and it is. Unfortunately, this is typically the most overlooked step. In many situations, you'll find outdoor lights that serve no safety or security purpose at all.. Many times, lights are installed simply for aesthetic purposes. How many times have you seen homeowners put lights under their trees shining straight up? We know you have a tree... we saw it during the daytime. There's absolutely no need to light it for us at night. Additionally, many architects place lights on the sides of their buildings that shine straight up into the night sky. Uplighting is a waste of money and natural resources as well as a major cause of light pollution. Additionally, many times you'll see lights on round the clock, even though there is nobody around. This is  wasteful. Another irresponsible use of light is to use the brightest bulbs available. Using more light than a given task requires does not help the situation and will often reduce your visibility. A much better solution would be to make use of night sky friendly outdoor lights. These are lights which shine down onto the ground where people walk. They don't shine wastefully into the night sky. This allows for the use of much smaller wattages and save lots of money and natural resources. To top off your optimized outdoor lighting solution, make use of motion sensors. These allow the lights to be off most of the time and then turn on instantly whenthere is activity in the area. This can save more than 90% of the electricity consumed by many outdoor lights

Educate Others About Proper Outdoor Lighting
Your first goal should be to improve your own outdoor lighting. After you've got things under control on your end, you should try to educate your friends, neighbors and elected officials. Outdoor lights are everywhere. If each of us were aware of the impact our lights had on the world around us, there would undoubtedly be far less light pollution and far less resources consumed. Many people are simply unaware of the impact their outdoor lights have on their surroundings. If we each take a few minutes as the opportunity arises to educate those around us about proper outdoor lighting and light pollution, we can slowly but surely eliminate this wasteful practice. If you'd like to get intouch with the experts in your area, a good place to start would be The International Dark Sky Association (IDA). This is a group that was founded with the sole purpose of protecting our heritage of star filled skies. They are the light pollution experts and a great resource for people seeking to learn more about light pollution as well as how to apply better outdoor lighting practices.

Finally a reminder, If you want to know where you can find Energy Efficient Outside Lights, please check out:  http://www.starrynightlights.com/   You can even check out the interesting and informative blogs on the subject. 

Renee Kokoszka, Park City, Utah Loan Officer 

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