By Deborah Price and Martie Semmer, IDA Colorado Board of Directors
Earth Day (April 22) is a great reminder each year to protect our home planet. However, each day we have with the sun is reflected by nighttime with the moon and stars. While one half of the Earth is bathed in light, the other half is dark.
Half of life on earth is nocturnal. Many species of wildlife have evolved eyesight that is specifically designed for night vision. Light pollution is often a detriment to their survival and ability to thrive.
Night is a magical time, not only for wildlife survival and activity, but for the glorious skies we see above our heads. The darker it is, the more you can see. The more we keep lights off, the more our eyes adjust to darkness. We see better at night when there is less light pollution. Our pupils expand in the darkness and allow us to take in much more of the night around us. When lights are turned on, our pupils shut down and put a barrier between us and the magic of the night.
This year’s theme for Earth Day is Invest in Our Planet. Investment can mean a lot of things, and investing in protection of the night has some pretty simple rules we can follow. It starts with using lights only when we need them, and directing light where it is needed (not up into the sky or into a neighbor’s yard). When we find ways to protect life after dark, it helps our lives shine a little brighter in the daytime too.
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