The latest National Geographic features a piece about light pollution and its toll on wildlife, pertinent to the situation we have here with the proposed White Rock Lake lighting project (more here, and here). The aforementioned article backs up the idea that by making do without all the artificial lighting, we will not only preserve energy, but also protect animals whose biological rhythms can get screwed up when you pollute the night with that “luminous orange glow”.
"Wildlife species have evolved on this planet with biological rhythms—changing that has profound effects," said Travis Longcore, a biogeographer with the Urban Wildlands Group in Los Angeles, who with colleague Catherine Rich, co-organized a conference last year on "Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting."
Since the nights have started falling earlier, I’ve gone out running around the lake in the pitch dark. I can understand the idea behind installing lights — you have to smartly navigate the roadways and paths at night to avoid collision with fellow pedestrians, cyclists and cars. But that’s doable if we just use common sense (I know, it’s a lot to ask for some of us).
The atmosphere at the lake in the dark with just the moon’s glow spilling onto the glassy water — well, it’s just irreplaceable especially here in the city. It was the other night out there in the dark —even as I was forced into a muddy roadside pit by a non-observant motorist —that I decided how I felt at lights around the lake. And that was before reading the National Geographic story. I know the lights advocates have good intentions, but we are already doing so much out there to make it more user friendly. Let’s let nighttime be nighttime.