rio milky way
Cities with stars? – artist Thierry Cohen shows what the cities of the worlds would look like without light pollution

When’s the last time you saw the milky way just by looking up at night? I’ve only seen a sky like this a couple of times – both were in Greece. (Yes in my past life I was lucky enough to vacation in Greece). Now I live in an urban area where I get excited by just a star or two!

Besides preventing us from seeing beautiful night skies like this, light pollution is harmful to wildlife, particularly birds, disrupting their built-in navigation system. Living without a dark night sky also has an unhealthy effect on the human circadian rhythm.

If you miss seeing the stars at night, there are actions you can take to reduce light pollution:

  1. Turn lights off in your home when not in use.
  2. Prevent inside light from leaking outside (use curtains, blinds or shades) at night.
  3. Look for IDA (International Dark Sky Association) approved lighting fixtures, which are designed to reduce glare. Bulbs that are covered and face down are better than those that face out and up.
  4. Use warm (yellowish) lights rather than cool (white-bluish) lights. If you’ve ever looked head on at a car with LED headlights you don’t need me to tell you that cool lights have more of a piercing effect than do the warmer, yellow ones.

You might also decide to use motion detecting lights, but if you do, opt for motion sensors that don’t use wireless (radiofrequency) technology as this is an additional form of pollution.

Read the IDA’s Good Neighbor Guide to Residential Lighting


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