floodlightLight Pollution Has Far-Reaching Consequences

Here in Gallinas Valley many of us live very close to nature, and light pollution produces a continual state of “twilight” in the habitats around us.

This man-made twilight affects the mating habits, feeding patterns, navigational skills, and circadian rhythms (24-hour cycle in the biochemical, physiological, or behavioural processes of living entities) of mammals (including humans), birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

Bright outdoor lights disrupt the migrating, eating and mating of nocturnal animals. Unwanted light trespass into surrounding natural areas not only disturbs but can also attract nearby wildlife.
There are long term impacts of artificial light at night on ecosystems. It has even been shown that light pollution also contributes to smog.

lgvsd_20100424__24lights_300The Good News

  • California has some of the strictest outdoor-lighting regulations
  • Federal stimulus money supports US Dept of Energy and EPA campaigns for LED lighting
  • The Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District (LGVSD) Board studied light pollution emanating from their luminous wastewater treatment plant in northeast Gallinas Valley and has budgeted funds to eliminate glare and light pollution. Learn more here.

Smart Lighting – Protect the Environment and Save Energy

There are many persuasive arguments against light pollution and in favor of smart lighting (in particular with LED lights)
Don’t just do it for our environment! There are other great reasons to use smarter lighting:

  • Shielding a lamp usually requires a lesser wattage bulb, thereby saving energy
  • Save money (less energy consumption = less cost)
  • Shielding reduces glare (which can be blinding) allowing you to see lit areas better and more naturally
  • Shielding produces fewer harsh shadows (where someone can hide).
  • Shielding a light improves the visibility of the night sky (and enables us to see the Milky Way)

Smart Lighting Recommendations

We encourage implementation of these SMART LIGHTING methods:

  • Lights that are a bit too bright and are shining in out onto fields, marshes, or other open areas, can be re-directed onto the ground where they will do the most good
  • Purchase Fixture Seal of Approval (FSA) approved outdoor light fixtures that shield light (such as the Glarebuster)
  • Use light only WHERE it is needed with well-designed fixtures that put light onto the ground instead of sending it into the sky
  • Use light only WHEN it is needed by using timers and motion sensors
  • Use only as much light as needed for safety and security
  • Use energy efficient lighting with less scatter and glare
  • Use HPS (High Pressume Sodium) and LED type bulbs (incandescent bulbs squander 90% of their electricity as heat; CLFs contain mercury and must be disposed of as toxic waste)

coverngm200811_us_sized_imageFurther Information

GWC Light Pollution Information

International Dark-Sky Association (THE Light Pollution Authority)

Effects of Artificial Light at Night on Wildlife (PDF)

Lighting and Wildlife: 101 Introduction (PDF)

Five Ways to Bring Back The Night

National Geographic Light Pollution Special

Understanding Light Pollution (Cape Cod Astronomical Society)

It’s All About The Lighting (Wall Street Journal)

Everything is Illuminated, All the Time (KQED)

The Martians are coming! (SVNA PDF)

On A Clear Night, Can You See Forever? (SVNA PDF)