Saturday, January 10, 2009

293/365 Light bulb moment

On the outside, light pollution seems like the most harmless of "pollutions."

But an article in the November 2008 issue of National Geographic brought to light (ahem) the very real consequences of our addiction, many of which I'd never really thought about.

The biggest negative impact of artificial light that struck a chord with me is its effect on nocturnal wildlife. Many species have evolved to structure their lifestyles around changing sunlight. But when an area has an overabundance of nighttime light, it throws off these creatures' abilities to sense when it's time to eat, sleep, migrate...

I took astronomy in college for my science credit. We spent a small amount of time talking about light pollution and its influence on earth-bound stargazing. One point my professor made has stuck with me ever since then: What do you think are some of the worst lights for causing light pollution?

Billboards. Think about it -- their lights point nearly straight up into the sky, meaning the majority of their luminescence spills out, and only a small portion actually illuminates the advertisement.

Light pollution may not seem as noteworthy as air pollution or the need for energy efficiency, but it's something to consider the next time you go to replace lights on the outside of your house.

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/4.5 at ISO 1600.

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