Monday, October 27, 2008

Why We Need Darkness

Another quick break from this month's spooky posts.

Part of the reason the name of my blog is The Inconsequential Blogger is because I was feeling a little frustrated back in April when I started the blog. I felt that things that I cared deeply about were inconsequential to everyone else.

Part of my frustrations stemmed from the planning commission in my little town. I had recently attended a meeting in which they would be deciding on whether or not to install nighttime lighting on two of the baseball fields in the park next to my house. Living right next to the park of course I don’t want the lights, so I went to the meeting to voice my opinion and concerns. Among my concerns were light pollution, and the effects of artificial nighttime lighting on the wildlife in the area.

I was cut off in the middle of describing the wildlife in the park. It made me feel kind of foolish. Like I was some sort of nut or something. The lights were approved, so now little-leaguers can stay up late playing ball.

Today I felt a little bit better about my concerns and that maybe they aren’t so inconsequential, when I looked at the November issue of National Geographic that came in the mail. On the cover the “dazzling Chicago nightscape lights up the clouds but obscures the stars” in a striking photo by Jim Richardson. In large words on the cover it says, “The End Of Night - Why We Need Darkness.”

One of the concerns raised in the article was about the increasing light pollution worldwide and its very real effect on wildlife. And something else that the article brought up was that “at least one new study has suggested a direct correlation between higher rates of breast cancer in women and the nighttime brightness of their neighborhoods.”

We need darkness because we are diurnal creatures. Artificial nighttime lighting interferes with our natural circadian rhythms, and the natural feeding, reproductive, and migratory rhythms of the creatures which share our world. The article states that of all the types of pollution, light pollution is the easiest to combat through better lighting design and light curfews.

I’m sure the National Geographic article won’t sway the planning board in my little town. In fact I’m sure they don’t even remember the kooky lady who they had to cut off mid-sentence because they didn’t want to hear about wildlife in a park made for little-leaguers and soccer players. I, however, feel a little teensy bit vindicated. But I’m still sad about the lights.


Q said...

Dear ICQB,
I am sad about the lights too. I live in a city with lots of light pollution. Glad National Geographic helped to ease your pain a wee bit. I never have understood why people need to play tennis or baseball or any game in the dark under lights. Why not play in the daytime? I do not think you are silly for wanting darkness. I think you are wise.
I have been enjoying your October posts. Thank you for them.

ICQB said...

Hi Sherry,

Thanks for stopping by. It's always nice to hear from you! I'm glad you've been enjoying the October posts, and thanks for your kind words.


Russell said...

NG underplays the research. See

ICQB said...

Hi Russell, thanks for the link.