Nature’s Silent SOS: The Unseen Threat of Festive Lights

Samin Emrani
2 min readNov 17, 2023

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Photo Credit: decodingbiosphere

Light pollution happens when there’s too much artificial light at night, and it’s a bigger issue than we might realize. Take holidays like Christmas or New Year, for instance — all those twinkling lights might look nice, but they add to this problem.

Why does it matter? Well, it messes with nature and our health. Animals that usually do their thing at night, like hunting or finding mates, get thrown off by the extra light. Imagine trying to sleep with a flashlight in your face — not fun, right? It’s the same for animals.

For us humans, too much light at night messes with our sleep and can lead to health issues like trouble sleeping, moodiness, or even serious stuff like diabetes and cancer. Plus, it’s not good for the environment — wasted energy and all.

So, why does light pollution happen? We use more light than we need, and a lot of it goes where it shouldn’t — up in the sky, causing that glow over cities. What can we do about it? Use lights that don’t shine everywhere, like those shielded fixtures. And maybe don’t go overboard with too many decorations. Also, let’s be aware of the impact and not go crazy with the lights.

Light pollution occurs for various reasons:

1. Over-Illumination: Using more light than needed or lighting up areas where light isn’t necessary.
2. Poorly Designed Lighting Fixtures: Inefficient or poorly shielded fixtures let light go in the wrong directions, causing skyglow and glare.
3. Excessive Use of Decorative Lighting: During holidays, there’s often an abundance of decorative lights contributing to light pollution.

To tackle light pollution, we can:

1. Install fixtures that direct light where it’s needed and minimize light spill to significantly reduce light pollution.
2. Communities can make rules about outdoor lighting to control the type and amount used.
3. Raise Awareness: Teach people about the negative effects of light pollution and encourage responsible outdoor lighting to help lessen its impact.
4. Using technologies like LEDs can reduce overall energy consumption from lighting.

The effects of light pollution on animals and nature are diverse. Nocturnal animals may change behavior, migration, and reproduction. For example, sea turtle hatchlings might get confused by artificial lights, leading them away from the ocean. Birds may have navigation and communication problems, and plants and trees can be affected, influencing their growth. So, addressing light pollution is vital for the well-being of both nature and human communities.

Remember, it’s not just about ruining the view of stars; it’s about maintaining balance for animals, plants, and ourselves. So, this holiday season, let’s light up responsibly!

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