A very strange demand being made here – that we must treat light pollution as we do other forms of pollution. For of course we do so already and we’d be idiots not to.
Artificial light should be treated like other forms of pollution because its impact on the natural world has widened to the point of systemic disruption, research says.
Human illumination of the planet is growing in range and intensity by about 2% a year, creating a problem that can be compared to climate change, according to a team of biologists from the University of Exeter.
Hormone levels, breeding cycles, activity patterns and vulnerability to predators are being affected across a broad range of species, they write in a paper published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
From reduced pollination by insects and trees budding earlier in spring, to seabirds flying into lighthouses and sea turtles mistakenly wandering inland to bright hotels in search of the dawn sun, their study-of-studies brings together 126 previous papers to assess the extent of the impact.
OK, great, so what do we do now?
We react as we do to any other report of any other form of pollution. So, what’s the benefit to us of doing the polluting? Sure, sure, you’re telling us of the costs. Great, thanks, we get that now. But we do still need to compare those costs with the benefits, right?
So what are those benefits? Fewer rapes- yes, the dark does increase this vile crime. Fewer road accidents even. Drunks can find their keys. The more light there is the less that finding is restricted to right by the street lamps. The joy of the fairy lights twinkling around Santa.
That outdoor light brings us lots of benefits. Which is why we humans happily pay for it – ‘coz benefits. If there are costs associated with it, well, so be it. We then need to compare the benefits and the costs to make a decision. Where benefits are greater than costs continue – where they ain’t don’t.
Except, of course, that’s not what is being suggested here. Instead, they’re suggesting the other thing we do with pollution – insist on there being none at whatever the cost. Which is ludicrous and suggested only by the insane.
We should do the sensible thing.