21st Oct 2022

Light Pollution: A Global Problem

At Greatland Laser, we believe that lights can save lives. However, too much of the wrong kinds of light in the wrong situations can actually be harmful to human health as well as the environment as a whole. Today, we will touch base on the problem of light pollution and offer suggestions on how you can do your part to minimize the problem.

What Is Light Pollution?

Simply put, light pollution is an overabundance of artificial light in the night sky. According to National Geographic, it can wreak havoc on the human circadian rhythm and also causes issues with astronomers trying to view and study celestial objects. 99% of people living in America and Europe live in an overly lit nighttime environment.

Effects On Humans

Humans have evolved to have what’s called a circadian rhythm. This is essentially the body's 24-hour rhythm that tells us when to wake and be energetic and when to relax for sleep. An overabundance of artificial light in the night sky can reduce the body’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that tells us when it’s time to turn in. LiveScience also explains that light pollution has also been linked to certain health conditions, such as breast and prostate cancer.

Light Pollution And Wildlife

Light pollution also has a negative effect on wildlife as these creatures also have a circadian rhythm. What’s more, some animals rely on the day and night cycle to know when it’s safe to perform certain activities. In the case of sea turtles, this is to migrate to the beach to lay eggs, and not laying eggs can be detrimental to not only the sea turtle population but to the beaches as well. The eggs they deposit nourish the sand and vegetation.

When Artificial Light Makes Sense

Natural light makes the most sense most of the time. In fact, there are entire building solutions that utilize processes known as daylighting and daylight harvesting. Each of these taps into the sun’s ability to naturally and healthfully illuminate a building. However, there are some areas that need to be well-lit day and night. This includes parking garages, which are often covered and largely indoors.

The Best Lighting For Mother Nature

Daylight is obviously the best light for humans and the planet. However, technology has also made it possible to utilize artificial lighting with as small an impact as possible. LED lighting is a great example. Williams College points out that LED lights save money, but these can also be dimmed to provide just enough light as necessary.

Other Ways To Reduce Light Pollution

If you are an individual or developer looking for ways to reduce your light pollution footprint. Implement a few tips from Conserve Energy Future to get started. These include using fewer holiday lights, relying on sensors and automated lighting, and talking to your local leaders about using glare-free lighting at night. You can also reduce your nighttime trips and, importantly, turn off exterior lights when they are not absolutely necessary.

We only have one world, and light pollution is a problem for more than 80% of it. Unnecessary artificial light throws off our body’s natural rhythm and has a profound and negative effect on many wildlife species. It also makes it more difficult for scientists to know what’s going on in the vastness of space. Fortunately, while there are some places, like parking garages, that must be well-lit around the clock, simple steps, like turning out the lights and using dimmable bulbs, can make a positive impact in your community.

Contact Greatland Laser online today or call us at 907.245.4475.

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