Light pollution falling all because of high energy costs
The charity Lighthouse has tracked light pollution falling around the world, which is a welcome development for wildlife. It has noted that light pollution levels are decreasing in the United States, UK, and Germany. But the question remains: What are the effects of light pollution on wildlife?
This article will explore these issues. Specifically, we’ll examine the effects of this problem on the environment, wildlife, and people.
Low levels of light pollution in the UK
Worries over energy prices are helping to keep light pollution levels down in the UK. Energy charities, such as CPRE, have been campaigning to reduce the amount of lighting in cities. In 2011, they asked to count the stars in the constellation of Orion. At its worst was estimated to be around 10 stars per square mile. But that number has been declining ever since.
Those in power are taking action to tackle the problem. It wants to lower electricity prices to the level of pre-war levels by 2025. They’re calling for a cap of eight Euros per megawatt hour by then, a figure significantly lower than the current level of 100 EUR/MWh. This would allow local authorities to better plan street light locations and limit unnecessary pollutants.
Low levels of light pollution in Germany
The German economy is facing mounting pressures due to soaring energy costs and worries about climate change, but low levels of light pollution have been a bright spot for stargazers since 2011. Rising prices have spurred councils to cut street lighting, and the increased number of home workers has reduced office lighting. As a result, the number of light pollutant-causing structures has been steadily reducing.
In a bid to ease the economic pressure, there is planning to introduce an aid package to combat rising energy prices. According to the Green economy and climate minister, high prices have hit lower-income households the most. Habeck has suggested introducing a subsidy for fuel, which will reduce the price of petrol by up to 20 cents per litre. They seem to be hopeful that this will bring relief.
Low levels of light pollution in the United States
The results of the Star Count, a citizen science project with over 2,500 participants, show the importance of dark skies in the US. Participants are asked to report the number of stars they can see in the constellation Orion. In the United States, severe light pollution means fewer than ten stars visible to the naked eye. It peaked in the year 2020, and then fell to 51% in 2021, and then to 49% this year.
But the problem is more widespread than just a issue of stargazing. In addition to its aesthetic impact, light pollution has several negative environmental effects. Scientists have linked it to reduced insect populations and a decline in stargazing. As a result of energy cost concerns, the levels of this problem are dropping across the United States. The cause is complex, but it’s likely that rising energy costs have a role.
Another way to reduce light pollution is to work from home. With energy prices soaring, office-based organizations are making the transition to permanent home working. And households are becoming more energy conscious and making the switch to more efficient technologies. These changes could improve the quality of the night sky in the US.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that we need to protect our dark skies.
Effects of light pollution on wildlife
As energy costs rise and energy demand increases, the burden of light pollutans is increasingly falling on people. In a 2020 study, researchers found that people in the United States were exposed to nearly twice as much light as before. They also found a significant relationship between disadvantaged groups and this problem. In addition to disrupting nocturnal behavior, artificial lights also interfere with reproduction, which in turn decreases animal populations.
Moreover, light pollution impacts many living things, from humans to birds and insects. Exposure to artificial light causes sleep disorders, disorients birds and increases the risk of collisions with buildings, and has contributed to the massive insect population decline in many countries. In the recent past, the Pittsburgh city council voted to impose a Dark Sky Ordinance, requiring building owners to install less energy-inefficient and eco-friendly light fixtures.
This trend has resulted in increased awareness of energy efficiency, with councils reducing street lights and changing the way they illuminate the city. In addition to the cost of energy, a growing population of citizens has started to become more environmentally aware, with many enlisting citizen scientists in an annual “Star Count.” This survey asks individuals to record the number of stars they can see with the naked eye.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that light pollution is affecting the health of the planet by reducing starlight. The impact of light pollution has been linked to declining insect populations and astronomy research. Despite its detrimental effects, many people still do not realize how much they affect the wildlife around them.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.