Sunny Side Down!
There used to be a time when street lights were looked upon as a fantasy. We are brought up with stories of a few great people who used to study under street lights. It isn’t wrong to think of street lights metaphorically as a divine light that guides our way, literally it does. Our governments have done a lot for its people not to go unguided in the dark. The phrase ‘City Lights’ has been a theme for many songs and stories and movies. So subtle!
When we look at a satellite image of our planet, it is scintillating, glittering, shining through the galaxies. What wouldn’t Edison give to look at this zenith of beauty his invention would reach? Remember that place in the centre of a forest or on top of a mountain or in the middle of a dessert or just a remote landscape you visited in the past and were swooped off your feet staring at the stars above and couldn’t get enough of it? Stargazing we call it. On the contrary, I wonder if aliens did exist, and that too with their high tech stealth spaceships, their weekend plans might sound like, ‘Pack your bags kids, let’s go Earth-gazing! Celestial touché!
Landing back to the fact, we have enough lights to lighten up our world. The technology of illumination has blessed us overwhelmingly. Bulbs and LEDs and solar powered lights have reduced the power consumption substantially. But with the lightening, comes the storm, too. In this case, the storm is excessive and unnecessary use of lights. Just take a big city for instance, climb up a reasonably tall building and take a look around late at night, probably after midnight. There are far too many lights than we need around us. Not in the case of every city. The big cities need to cut-off on its light usages. There are many buildings, offices, shops, apartments, etc. having hoardings, signboards, LEDs, neon lights and other light sources unnecessarily kept lit up even during the night serving no purpose. Energy efficient light sources have made it easy for us to leave the lights on without an individual thought of responsibility for optimum use of energy. We are on our way forward in civilization, breeding another type of pollution, Light Pollution. Apart from many core sectors of pollution, light pollution is the one least attended to.
Excessive lights after dark has many ill-effects, on us humans and well as plants and animal. We are not just heating up our Earth, but ruining the night sky by lighting up our world more than we ought to. Many studies have been conducted which proves that exposure to artificial light after dark disrupts the natural phenomena, our environment, the natural habitat for a gazillion number of species, and most importantly, our health.
And as for the aesthetics, romantics and the Don Quixotes, it kills the charm and thrills and idée fixe of Stargazing!
There are many possible solutions. Apart from a segment of industries and businesses and institutions like pharmacy shops, hospitals, hotels, railway-bus-airport terminals, police stations and other important emergency service centres, the rest of the organizations, institutes, shops, commercials, etc. have no necessity of keeping their brilliant flashy signboards and hoardings lit all night. As a matter of fact, it has to be a responsibility of every citizen not to light up more than necessary. There are light intensity regulators available which can be used wherever possible. There should be stricter laws regulating too much use of lights on occasions and celebrations for decorative purposes that stretch post-midnight hours. There could be many better solutions to it out there existing already, or are just around the corner, waiting to be found. Let us only hope not to see a world facing more relentless challenge from Light Pollution as we are facing from all the other members of the pollution family.
Think. Observe. Feel. Explore.
Thank You for Thinking.