Saturday, July 31, 2010

Please Turn Out the Lights

Forget about drought, erosion, and Global Warming. In my opinion the real danger challenging the beauty of the Tallgrass Prairie is of Light Pollution, otherwise known as photopollution or luminous pollution.

A mere 14 years ago, when we first bought the land our current house sits on, just outside the Manhattan city limits, my son and I used to just sit and be amazed at the explosion of stars across the night sky of the prairie.  Beautiful and vibrant, it was and is the most obvious evidence of God's existence available to us. 

These days, the stars are dim in that same sky.  Despite the growth of Manhattan in directions away from us, it seems like the big city lights are growing in number at the exponential rate of a bacterial culture in unlimited fresh media.  That glow of Manhattan, a small city in reality, can now be seen more than 10 miles away on a clear night, interfering with star-gazers, lovers on country roads, and all the other higher aspirations of man. Park lights, University lights, Stadium lights, and Commercial Retail lights stay on to the wee hours of the morning, every morning. There's now a street light shining continuously on almost every corner including minor intersections in unpopulated areas, undoubtedly paid for by our increasingly-limited tax dollars and causing me to wake up in the wee hours thinking dawn has arrived. 

Even worse, I've noticed the indoor proliferation of lights all over my house from the now ubiquitous Light-Emitting Diode (LED) on every appliance large and small.  In our bedroom, a sacred, quiet dark place for this old farm boy, there are still no less than 8 LEDs shining every night in the semi-darkness from the TV, radio, mobile phone, charging cords, and other little electronic devices.  Why, I ask you, does the Visio TV in my bedroom need to have a light that comes ON when I turn the TV off?  I don't care if each LED uses a minuscule small amount of energy, billions of them still have to add up to something.  Most alarmingly, the suppression of melatonin by exposure to light at night has even been suggested as a cause for the higher rates of breast and colorectal cancers in the developed world (Pauley SM, Medical Hypotheses, 2004;63:588).  I don't want my tombstone to say "He Saw The Light And Died."   

I'm happy to debate with wild-eyed Al Gore followers whether Global Warming exists (which I question because I am old enough to remember the doomsday cries of pending Global Cooling in the 70's), but I will concede in an instant that I'd also be happy to do without all the artificial night light if the corresponding drop in energy use would help decrease the chances of Warming. For those who care, there is an International Dark Sky Association (, founded in 1988.

I plead with you to turn off the lights. Let the fireflies and stars take back their dominance in the night. We don't need the light to fend off the evil beasts any longer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your interest in my blog. I like to meet friends via my blog, so I try to respond if you comment from a valid email address rather than the anonymous And thanks again for reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...