I just adore the stars. Looking up and seeing the millions of stars on a quiet evening - or not!
I will say having lived in the cities in Canada, I lost my appreciation for them. If you were lucky you could see maybe 10 stars on a clear summer evening. But, I also had the luxury of living in the Rocky Mountains (Lake Louise) in Banff National Park for a year and my goodness the stars - the night sky was lit by trillions of stars - so beautiful. My new home in a small town in Southern British Columbia offers a night sky full of stars and my love for them again has been renewed. The old saying stands true "Out of sight out of mind".
The another night I had some trouble sleeping - when this happens I usually sit in the darkness on our deck and just enjoy the peace - that night it was a clear and calm night and the stars were visible in the sky which got me to thinking about what they call light pollution.
Light pollution has several consequences: Energy Waste, Disrupts Eco-systems and can have a detrimental effect on ones Health, not mention city dwellers and astronomers can not see the stars clearly.
The energy waste is quite clear - the more we light up the city the more energy we are wasting.
Within Eco- systems, life exists with natural patterns of light and dark, and disruption to this can disrupt the animal behaviour. Migrating birds are often confused by light coming from building structures and die needlessly when they collide with them. Light pollution also affects nocturnal insects, animals and plants continuous light pollution may lead to night species decline. The sea turtle who hatches on the beach needs to find its way to the ocean by moving away from the dark silhouette of dunes and their vegetation, light pollution interferes with this process by creating different shadows and silhouettes which confuse the turtles and the list of other nocturnal animals affected goes on...
Studies have also shown that light pollution can have health risks too. Humans need day and night patterns too. Light pollution can cause premature reproductive system ageing, and increase the risk of breast cancer and large intestine cancer in women.
For more information on the consequences of light pollution visit:
http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/medicine_health/report-77725.html; http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/01/light_pollution.php and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_pollution#Consequences_of_light_pollution.
On tomorrows post I will explore what we can do to help reduce some of the light pollution.