General Lighting Environmental Lighting Human Centric Lighting LED

Should Dark Sky Initiatives Focus on Space or Earth?

A recent article in The Guardian warned of the light pollution being emitted by satellites such as Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites. While providing all kinds of benefits to mankind, these satellites and some others allegedly emit too much light. The light emitted is light pollution and it brightens the night sky.

Light pollution is an issue and losing dark skies is a very real issue. The question is, in world that knows very little and cares even less about dark sky issues, do we start pushing dark sky initiatives in space, on Earth, or both?

What is light pollution and who cares?

Light pollution comes in many forms from light that trespasses from one property to another, to light that goes up and stops people and and wildlife from being able to see the night sky. The International Dark Sky Association documents many forms of light pollution, the effects of light pollution, and ways we can mitigate light pollution.

What is dark sky lighting, at least here on Earth?

Dark sky compliant lighting is LED light fixtures that lights up what needs to be illuminated without causing uplight that reduces our ability to see the night sky.

My Thoughts

While I don’t personally know much about satellites causing light or the value the satellites provide, v. the cost to society via a less dark sky, I do agree that we need to protect our skies from light pollution. More of an effort needs to be made by communities around the world to become dark sky communities. Becoming a dark sky community is a local way to start preserving the dark sky for nature, our wellbeing, and the benefit of future generations.

General Lighting LED

Outdoor Lighting That Won’t Disrupt Wildlife

Bats are one of the most important species for our global ecology. After the sun goes down they, along with a few other species, become the primary pollinators of nighttime plant life. This greatly contributes to our after hours agricultural system and the environment as a whole. They are also a large contributor to insect and pest reduction. People in insect rich areas like Florida have even tried building Gothic bell towers to attract the desirable flying mammals.

Which is why it is with great alarm that scientists have realized that outdoor lighting poses a threat to nocturnal wildlife and bats in particular. Since bats only come out at night and rely on echolocation rather than their eyes to see, any light pollution can hurt them. Many other nocturnal species may benefit from a light pollution reduction in your neighborhood as well.

Bat friendly lighting generally takes the form of amber light. This is due to the wavelengths that are created by different types of light bulbs and led lights. Wildlife friendly amber light is by far the best choice for outdoor light pollution solutions. These LED lamps are built with new light emitting diode technology that uses an amber hue rather than a traditional white hue that imitates fluorescent lights.

LED technology has numerous benefits. Traditional lights actually use a majority of their energy to generate heat with light being a byproduct. LEDs are specifically designed to generate light without generating a lot of heat. Since bats use echolocation alongside a spectrum of light humans cannot see they are more susceptible to light pollution from LEDs. This effect essentially diminishes their eyesight or even blinds them in areas around outdoor LED technology.

However the Dutch Mammal Society has determined that amber colored LED’s can offer some sanctuary for bats and other nocturnal species that are being affected by this issue. Scientists and conservationists are recommending a two pronged attack against light pollution affecting bats and other nighttime species. Replace traditional white LEDs with amber hued LEDs and create special light pollution free zones that will allow bats to travel to and from areas to engage in feeding and pollination. This approach has shown results in a number of American cities and is not hard to replicate. By taking an ecologically friendly approach to lighting we can improve the lives of local wildlife while helping our own ecology at the same time.