Artificial light pollution ~ Learning together and raising awareness
Below is a quick read introduction to light pollution
Here is a link to a great mix of articles and organisations to find out more about light pollution.
Please come back closer to the launch of Blinded by the Light, on 11 September 2021, for a useful information booklet!
Or ask us to email it to you.
1. The issue of light pollution
Many people are unaware that artificial lighting can be a source of pollution. If asked to list forms of pollution people refer pollution in the air, land and water, even sound pollution. But there are few mentions artificial lights as a form pollution. Light pollution is caused by lights in buildings, offices, and housing including outdoor security lighting. Streetlights, car lights and fairy lights all add to it.
2. What are the problems caused by light pollution?
All living beings – humans and animals – have evolved to live in a world where there is natural light during the day, and darkness at night. Artificial lights at night cause problems to us all:
Light pollution upsets the way animals distinguish between daytime and night-time, disturbing their natural behaviour to eating and sleeping. For example day-time animal can become active at night when they need sleep and rest, and night-time animals are either mistakenly drawn to light or avoid being out near lights when they should be feeding.
Insects can drawn to lights instead of pollen in flowers to feed on; insect numbers have reduced drastically over the last few decades
Migratory birds can be pulled off-course when drawn to lights and die of exhaustion
Too little sunlight and too much artificial light, including the blue lights emitted from our smart gadgets, messes with humans’ circadian rhythms, causing ill-health and negatively affecting our sleep patterns
Unnecessary lighting causes over-use of resources and an additional strain on climate change
Each generation is seeing fewer and fewer stars at night due to light pollution.
3. What can be done about light pollution?
Light pollution can be reduced in a number of ways that are ‘do-able’ in terms of changes to make.
It can be tackled by:
Turning off lights when not needed
Changing the kind of light bulbs put in security lights and angling them downwards; reducing how easily they are triggered or how long they stay on
Reducing the trend for fairy lights etc in gardens
Asking local shopkeepers not to leave their lights on overnight.
Possibly by lobbying planners to include appropriate lighting for buildings and landscaped outdoor spaces at the planning stages
4. How can craftivism raise awareness and help influence change?
Let's learn more about light pollution together and find out what can be done to reduce it. The intention is not to remove lighting where it is needed for safety purposes or request people to live their lives in the dark!
Craftivism can be an effective tool for campaigning for change. We want to ‘call people in’ rather than ‘call people out’. We can devise unusual, eye-catching creations that intrigue people to find out more about the issue. As well as our craftivist art trail for Chorlton Arts Festival, anyone can join in making small crafts to gift to people or secretly put in public places with messages leading them to online information.
Ready for more reading? Check out these articles covering a variety of issues around light pollution and find out what different organisations are doing to help us reduce light pollution.