How Light Pollution Works

By: Jessika Toothman

Light Pollution: Cheat Sheet

Stuff you need to know:

  • Light pollution takes many forms, like the sky glow visible in metropolitan areas and the cluttering effect common around brightly lit baseball stadiums and highways. Trespass is another, when unwanted light spills into unlit areas.
  • Light pollution can affect animals in many ways. It has the potential to disrupt sleeping cycles, breeding cycles, migration cycles and feeding cycles, to name a few.
  • Light pollution can affect people, too. Artificial light during evening hours decreases melatonin levels, which is linked to wide-ranging impacts on many bodily processes, including metabolic activities, immunological responses and other hormonal functions.
  • Light pollution also wastes money and generates large amounts of carbon pollution. Luckily, though, it's one of the easiest and cheapest pollution problems to solve.
  • Light pollution can be minimized in many ways. Lower-watt bulbs, motion-sensor lighting, directionally optimized light fixtures and dimmer switches can all help within a household. Commercial and municipal leaders can also be petitioned to make more broad-sweeping simple fixes.

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