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Shedding light on OUTDOOR LIGHTING and our environment

Updated: Aug 16, 2023


Too much outdoor LIGHTING disrupts our nighttime ecosystem and habitats for pollinators, fireflies, frogs, turtles, navigating birds and other nocturnal creatures.


Please consider turning off your lights at night or, if lighting for safety reasons, tilt lights to face downward and use yellow lights vs. white.


DARKNESS IS AN IMPORTANT BIOLOGICAL HABITAT.

Daytime and nighttime ecosystems have evolved together over millions of years. There is an entire ecosystem that is dependent on darkness. Nocturnal wildlife has evolved around the need for darkness.


Darkness regulates wildlife sleep, mating, pollination (night pollinators like moths, bats, and specific bee species), migration, hunting/eating, flowering/budding; you name it, it's dynamic, purposeful, and necessary – just like a daytime ecosystem.


Many migrating birds migrate at night. They need the dark skies to help them navigate.


Night-pollinating moths (critical pollinators) and other beneficial insects become confused, are easy prey, bang into lights until they die, or avoid the area altogether.


Have you ever wondered what happened to the fireflies that used to be so plentiful? They need the darkness for courtship and communication.




Bats are also negatively impacted by artificial lights at night (ALAN). Research done in 2021 by the University of Connecticut, Great Hollow Nature Preserve and Research Center: "Our results demonstrate that even a small degree of ALAN can represent a significant form of habitat degradation for some North American Bats, including the endgangered little brown bat".https://greathollow.org/news/new-publication-on-the-impacts-of-light-pollution-to-bats/


For nocturnal animals, research scientist Christopher Kyba states, " The introduction of arificial light probably represents the most drastic change humans beging have made to their environmant".

Per Darksky.org, "Glare from artificial lights also impacts wetland habitats home to

amphibians such as frogs and toads, whose nighttime croaking is part of the breeding ritual. Artificial lights disrupt this noctornal activity, interfeing with reproduction and reducing populations." https://www.darksky.org/light-pollution/wildlife/


Darksky organization recommends four lighting principles that will help reduce light pollution and harm critical ecosystems:

• Restrict the amount of upward-directed lighting

• Avoid over-lighting an area – only light what is necessary and use low wattage

• Utilize dimming, motion detectors or other appropriate lighting control

• Minimize short-wavelength (bluish) light in the nighttime environment


 

Let's not forget about us as human beings and how delightful and beautiful the night sky is when there's no artificial lighting to block the view of a night sky filled with stars and the moon's glow.


Together, we can help restore the natural beauty of our shared nighttime environment and enjoy the night sky while feeling good knowing we are allowing our nighttime ecosystem to thrive naturally around us.

David Crawford, Executive Director of the International Dark Sky Association, says: "Light pollution is not a matter of life and death. Yet it is important nonetheless, profoundly so. We lose something of ourselves when we no longer look up and see our place in the universe. It is like never again hearing children's laughter; we give up part of what we are."


 

For additional information on artificial light at night, please see below:


University of Wisconsin Lakes - Sensible Shoreline Lighting – Preserving the Beauty of the Night. https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/shorelandzoning/documents/shorelandlighting.pdf


James Madison University – Light Pollution: the Overuse and Misuse of Artificial Lighting




 

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Waupaca Chain O'Lakes Association

Stewardship and Resources Committee

Chair(s): Julie Mazzoleni, Fawn Johnson


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