Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Light Issue, Part II

So I never like to be one who presents a problem without presenting a solution.  Regarding light pollution, there are some easy solutions.

The easiest solution, by far, is to just turn off lights you are not using, or if you live in an area where you need to be concerned about your safety or the safety of your livestock, install a motion detector, which turns your lights on only when something moves. (How much outdoor lights actually deter predators and criminals is a subject that is up for debate, but I'm going to leave that be for now.) 

Adding motion detectors to your lights assures you that when all is calm, as the song goes, all does NOT necessarily have to be bright. (A little Christmas humor for ya)

Modifying existing lighting so that there are baffles on it or moving toward lighting that has more recessed receptacles allows more light to reach the ground and less to shoot off in the direction of the sky.

All these ideas, if used widely, could do a great deal to ensure more of us grow up seeing a night sky that at least partially resembles what our ancestors saw when they looked up at night.  It's a legacy worth preserving.


  1. I have this same problem. I live on a semi-rural street and because we don't have street light my neighbors think it's necessary to have glaring security lights on ALL corners of their houses. They are so bright they literally light up my entire living room. And the people next door...their light shines in my bedroom when it's on.

    And, for some un-Godly reason a house on the next street over has had their family room light on almost every night for the 10 years I've lived here. Light pollution indeed.

    Would much rather stare at those blood red sunsets, like the one we had the other night. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of it.

    Down the Central Coast


    1. Hey Jenn, happy you saw those awesome sunsets in our neighborhood too! I know this problem is a cultural one; I think we've lived without an appreciation for starlight for so long people just don't know what they're missing. But you think they'd realize when their lights are so bright they are illuminating others houses, yards, etc. Very sad. Plus a HUGE waste of money.

  2. I once asked a client of mine what the hardest thing getting used to was when she moved from the city to the country? She said "getting used to country dark". But then she told me how much she came to love "country dark". Haha it's one of the things I worry most about if I were to move to a more rural setting. I'm no fan of super-dark nights! It's terrible. But on the same hand, one of the things I appreciate most about Hilton Head is the ban on street lighting and landscape lighting. I went to the beach one night this past trip and was genuinely awestruck at what the sky looks like in true darkness. Lol my great grandmother was quite a heavy drinker and she always said it was because she was afraid of the dark! Haha. I got that from her I guess.

    1. I think once you adjust, the country is actually not all that dark. The starlight and moon certainly illuminate a lot, and once you know your way around your property it doesn't feel strange to be moving around there in darkness at all. I hear you on Hilton Head, though....the blackness that exists when you're looking out towards the ocean is a bit unsettling to me too -- I'm with your great-grandmother. But I suppose a person could get used to that, too -- with enough wine, anyway lol!