Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Monday Reads: The Lights Out Edition


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Shirley Hao:
Monday Reads: The Hawaiian Petrel Edition

“And over this desolate face of nature a stern silence reigned, scarcely broken by the flapping of the wings of petrels and puffins.” &nbs...

by David Henkin:
Defending a Species Paradise

Hawaiʻi has the dubious distinction as the endangered species capital of the world, with more imperiled species per square mile than any other pl...

by Shirley Hao:
Monday Reads: Wisdom’s Ageless Inspiration

Over the years, many a leg has flitted from one fashion trend to the next, from flaring bell bottoms to form-fitting skinny jeans. But for the past si...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
08 March 2010, 12:45 PM
Wildlife do not appreciate our bright lights

For many of us, the lights never truly go out. (Speaking literally, of course. Metaphorically? Now that’s a topic for another post.)

Long after we’ve switched off our lights and settled down to sleep, the soft glow of street lamps continues to spill out into the night. Traffic lights tirelessly cycle red, green, yellow, while electronic billboards advertise to the heavens. Even in our homes, that microwave clock keeps shining, holding total darkness at bay.

Light pollution may often be relegated to a lower tier of concern than, say, air or water pollution. After all, a little light drowning out the stars might be hard to match up against pea soup smog, or an oil-slicked waterway.

Although it may seem to simply be an astronomer’s annoyance, our 24-hour, man-made lightshow has created larger problems. Last week, Earthjustice put one brightly lit luxury Hawaiian resort on notice: follow the law, or we’ll see you in court.

 In this case, the resort—with its shining pool lights and more—is the single greatest cause of deaths and injuries from artificial lights among endangered Newell’s shearwater seabirds.

As with sea turtles who mistakenly head inland towards brightly lit homes rather than out towards the not-as brightly lit ocean horizon, the birds are attracted to the artificial beacons. Trapped in the glare, they circle repeatedly until falling to the ground from exhaustion or striking the resort's buildings.

Maka'ala Kaaumoana of the Kaua'i-based Hui Ho'omalu i Ka 'Āina gave this account:

I asked a resort employee why nothing was being done for the birds and was told that, to improve the guest experience, they were under orders to keep the lights on and the shades up. It's outrageous that, even when they know the community is watching, the resort so blatantly ignores its kuleana (duty) to stop killing our native seabirds.

More on the Newell’s shearwaters can be found at Earthjustice’s website.

Light pollution isn’t affecting just seabirds and sea turtles. Insects, songbirds and more are all experiencing negative consequences.

As our towns and cities grow, their shine almost seeks to swallow the starry night—and too much of our wildlife. Which does your sky look more like tonight? Top photo, or bottom?

The southern sky, featuring Sagittarius and Scorpius. Top - Leamington, UT, pop. 217. Bottom - Orem, UT, in a metropolitan area of ~400,000. Credit: Flickr user jpstanley / CC BY 2.0

The southern sky, featuring Sagittarius and Scorpius. Top photo: Leamington, UT, pop. 217. Bottom photo: Orem, UT, in a metropolitan area of ~400,000. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpstanley/ / CC BY 2.0.

More Reads:

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading
omegle

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.