I have been very interested in the topic of light pollution for several years now, and I think that it is totally relevant for us to talk about as a class learning about energy and policy. The article in the link below is about the topic of light pollution and how it is wasteful in terms of dollars, CO2 emisisons, fuels and so forth. This paper estimates an annual US cost of light pollution to be about $2 billion.
I also researched a little bit about the Northeastern blackout in 2003. The link below estimates that this blackout resulted in “11 deaths and cost an estimated $6 billion.”
The blackout apparently did not last for a huge amount of time, but it was certainly problematic for everyone affected by it. I want to know where the $6 billion was spend or lost from the blackout, and if maybe perhaps the blackout saved money because of the limited energy usage in that part of the North American continent. Maybe the blackout was good for the country in that it showed us that we cannot keep up our wasteful energy habits. I think that is definately a need for limited usage of lighting, especially for empty parking lots and highways at night. Even though light pollution is not the biggest waste of energy, it certainly is a problem. The image shown in class of the earth at night that shows the ‘rich’ countries definately shows way too much light being used, especially since most human beings fall asleep for most of any given night. Why do we need so many street lights for no one being awake?
Also, below is another article that shows reasons why too much light is bad for people’s safety and security:
I would like to do more research on this topic, but it seems to me that wasteful light habits are a problem and are being ignored by most people in the world. Plus, I like to think that most people would enjoy walking out of their front door, looking up, and seeing the Milky Way and all its wonders. You don’t need to have a power outlet to enjoy that.