Light pollution is the introduction of artificial light by humans, directly or indirectly, into the environment, that:

1. creates glare, light trespass, or sky glow.
2. has a negative impact on human health, plant and/or animal species.

It is not about getting rid of outdoor lighting, but using it wisely.

> The Lost Night

Light Pollution - The night sky as seen from a rural area compared to within a city.
Light Pollution – The night sky as seen from a rural area compared to within a city.

Milky Way not visible from their home due to light pollution:

  • United States: 66% population
  • Europe: 50% population

Additionally, because of bright city lights, approximately 40 percent of the United States and almost 20 percent of the European Union population can go outside at night without their eye’s needing to adapt to the darkness—in other words, it is as if they never really experience nighttime.

Visit this image of the Milky Way from outside Flagstaff, Az the first Int. dark sky city. http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080416.html

> Wasted Energy and Money

View of Arkansas at night.  Our major cities are easily seen from excess light they send into space.
View of Arkansas at night. Our major cities are easily seen from excess light they send into space.

In the United States, roughly 6% of the 4,054 million megawatt hours (mwh) of electricity produced are used for outdoor lighting and an estimated 30% of this is wasted as light pollution (California Energy Commission 2005). This translates into 72.9 million mwh of electricity needlessly being generated at a cost of $6.9 billion a year. Furthermore, this unnecessary electricity usage generated an additional 66 million metric tons of CO2 (Restenen and Kraushaar, 2006; DOE 2006). Eliminating light pollution would be the CO2 equivalent of removing over 9.5 million cars from of the road (EPA 2006; DOT 2001).

> Negative Health Effects

Light Pollution in the United States between 1950 and 2025.
Light Pollution in the United States between 1950 and 2025.

Many environmentalists, naturalists, and medical researchers consider light pollution to be one of the fastest growing and most pervasive forms of environmental pollution. And a growing body of scientific research suggests that light pollution can have lasting adverse effects on both human and wildlife health.  See the links below for details.

Visit these links to learn more about this issue:

Wasted Energy and Tax Dollars.

Crime and Security Issues.

Human & Animal Health Issues