For billions of years, life has evolved with Earth’s predictable rhythm of light and dark controlled by the length of the day. In fact, it’s encoded in the DNA of all plants, animals and humans. But our growth and technology have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the nighttime sky. It used to be that when the sun went down, celestial sources like the moon, stars, planets and the Milky Way lit the sky at night. Life learned to operate under the glow of these objects.
It is estimated that half of all species on Earth start their “daily” activities at sundown. Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark to govern life-sustaining behaviors such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators. Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures, including amphibians, birds, mammals, invertebrates, and plants.
Christopher Kyba, a light pollution research scientist tells us: “Near cities, cloudy skies are now hundreds, or even thousands of times brighter than they were 200 years ago. We are only beginning to learn what a drastic effect this has had on earth’s nocturnal ecology.”
The need to protect and restore the natural nighttime environment is more urgent than ever. Light pollution, defined as light where it is not wanted or needed, affects our health, wastes money, damages the environment, destroys wildlife, and limits our ability to find awe and wonder in the natural night.
Research indicates that light pollution is increasing at a global average rate of two percent per year.
What if we could fix this?
What if our towns were known not only for our coastline and nature trails and shops and restaurants, but also for our beautiful night-time skies?
The DUCC Creation Justice Team invites you to read and discuss the gorgeously written and critically acclaimed The End of Night by Paul Bogard. The book is available in print and electronic form from The Saugatuck-Douglas District Library. If all copies are checked-out, request a copy through the library’s inter-loan network. The book is also available as an audiobook, narrated by the author. It is also available from your favorite booksellers in stores or online.
On November 2, at 6:30 pm, we will gather at the DUCC Friendship Hall, 56 Wall Street, to discuss the book and explore local and national efforts to reduce excessive, damaging and dangerous lighting in our community. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so please sign up to help us with our planning.
Following CDC recommendations, facemasks are requested for all participants while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
For more information on the need for responsible outdoor light, visit the International Dark-Sky Association at www.darksky.org.
To register for this free event, click here: https://bit.ly/TheEndOfNight.