In the Washington Post of May 5, Dana Milbankfocused on light pollution, a growing problem everywhere, including in Concord.
Night skies grew 10% brighter per year over the past decade, much from bluish LED lights, with a huge impact on humans and wildlife: insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals have all had their ecosystems disrupted. “Artificial light has altered migration, mating, foraging, pollination, and predation rhythms that developed over eons.” Global insect population shrinks by 2% per year, threatening pollination of crops and plants and contributes to declining bird counts. In addition, most of us in North America can no longer see the Milky Way at night.
What can we do? Street and residential lights are not the largest cause of light pollution, but they matter. Concord can dim street lights during certain hours, regulate outdoor lighting in new construction, etc. We can all do our part: change floodlights to downward-facing lights. Use dimmers, motion sensors, and timers when light is truly necessary. Use “warm” bulbs with yellowish light rather than blue. And simply turn off lights when not needed.
For 4.5 billion years there was no artificial light on earth. Let’s all consider the lights we use and lessen their impact on our environment.
Jane Fisher and Tom Brosnahan