Let there be more light ?

europeatnight.jpgThis week-end was held in Slovenia the seventh European Symposium for the protection of the night sky.

This is the occasion to have a look at the lightning of our cities at night. As more lights mean more greenhouse gases emissions, we will have to reduce the amount of lightning to fight climate change.

The image used for this article is Europe and North Africa at night, according to the Nasa. With this, I believe one can really understand quickly the problem.

According to the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), who organized the symposium, the amount of light at night in some EU countries is increasing by more than 10 percent per annum.

This raises a serious amount of topics. I will outline the main ones below :

  • Huge losses of money and energy. The IDA estimates that 1,700 million € are lost each year in lightning in Europe. Some lights have an efficiency of 50 percent. Which means that only half of the energy consumed is used effectively.
  • Banning ineffective lamps. The ones that spread their light in all directions should be banned as they consume way too much for their purpose.
  • Light pollution and health. What are the effects of too much light at nights for human health ? Is the quality of sleep decreased ?
  • Light pollution and road safety. As light increase in amount, is it not dangerous for traffic ?
  • Light pollution and its impact on both plants and animals.
  • Influence on astronomy. Thousands of amateur astronomers and million of people can’t see the Milky Way and less and less stars are being visible throughout Europe.

To the IDA, the solution to all those problems is quite simple :

Light emissions above the horizontal plane are the main cause of light pollution and energy being wasted into space.

It is more likely that the development of such lights would also decrease the energy consumption in all Europe.

In the EU, the goal is to reduce by a factor four the overall greenhouse gases emissions, so we will have to reduce the amount of light we use at night in our streets and on our roads to achieve this famous factor four.

If you are a Pink Floyd fan as I am, you will have probably remarked the allusion to the title beginning the album A saucerful of secrets, released in 1968…

Source used for this article :

A lire en Français à ce sujet :

  • Le dossier publié par notre-planete.info qui résume très bien la situation sur la pollution lumineuse.

Image used for this article :

From the Nasa page Visible Earth : Earth’s city lights. There you can download a 30000 x 15000 GIF (5.9MB) image that will enable you to see a great view of our Planet at night.

2 thoughts on “Let there be more light ?”

  1. “Light pollution and health. What are the effects of too much light at nights for human health ? Is the quality of sleep decreased ?”

    For sur : YES ! I slept so much better when i was in te countryside. Now that i live in Paris, this constant orange light seems really depressing to me !

    I even forgot how the stars shine…sad

  2. Pingback: Barcelona’s amazing smart lightning idea :: Sustainable development and much more

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