by Surabhi Agarwal
Light pollution is one of the least talked about type of pollution that is adversely affecting every aspect of our suburban lives, from watching the sky and disrupting our ecosystem balance to playing havoc with our health. Artificial light is a fairly new power in our hands and like any other power in human hands, it is proving to be a curse when used improperly.
This pollution keeps us from witnessing the marvels of our own galaxy in the night sky from our homes that generations before us did. The fauna around us is struggling with the disturbances in their diurnal/nocturnal rhythms resulting in various negative effects on their lives which include reproduction, diapause, growth, migration, and even coloration of plumage or body. World over, the flora is battling with interference in their photoperiodism, effecting in changes in their flowering patterns leading to timing mismatches with the emergence of their pollinators. This mismatch in turn is rapidly leading towards less food production for the world’s animal populations and the alarmingly growing human population. Interrupted sleep, fatigue, depression, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic problems have been linked to our confused circadian rhythms. The pollution’s contribution to climate change is enormous and requires a whole new article.
Larry has brought up a subject that really requires our attention with utmost urgency. I am in complete agreement with him. As a group of sky watchers we should put our concerted efforts to save our night skies and our local ecosystems. We have to adopt a multipronged approach for this cause. Creating awareness of the negative impacts of light pollution via our social media, local library and school talks is one prong. Taking take this cause to our local governments and pushing them to bring about sensible changes in legislation is the second one. Once we formally adopt this cause in our meeting agendas, I am sure we will add more prongs. Rex has successfully guided Hopewell Township to amend their light ordinances. I am pushing for changes in Monroe and South Brunswick using a copy of the ordinances that Rex has provided me. You will soon find a new page on our website with a copy of this document and links to our presentations on the subject. Feel free to take a copy of the document to your town council. You are also welcome to use my power point presentation.
I hope that my fellow club members will readily join in this effort to curb light pollution in their local areas.