Light Pollution Energy Waste

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.

http://physics.fau.edu/observatory/lightpol-econ.html

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.”

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=2003-blackout-five-years-later

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:

http://physics.fau.edu/observatory/lightpol-security.html

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.

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3 Comments

Filed under energy, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Light Pollution Energy Waste

  1. Diana Duann

    This topic of light pollution is very eye-opening. I did not realize how much light pollution has affected our world today. It is so interesting to see how much our society has evolved. Hundreds of years ago, there was no such thing as light pollution because people only used candles and lanterns to light the night. People were able to enjoy the Milky Way and the true night sky. Today, from a distance, you can see brightly-lit cities and suburbs washing out the natural black night.

    Light pollution is not only detrimental to people’s safety and security, but also is harmful to animals and their lifestyles. The artificial lighting at night has affected the feeding patterns of nocturnal species like bats. It has also caused early breeding in birds and influenced their migration schedules. [1]

    Not only is excessive lighting wasting our dollars and causing excessive CO2 emissions, but also it is harming our lifestyles and our ecosystem. We really need to take action on this issue, especially when this kind of pollution is perhaps the most easily remedied out of the other pollution we face today.

    [1] http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text/1

  2. What is your point? What is the link between the costs of a widespread power outage and light pollution that you are trying to make? Throwing a few links down makes for a weak post. You are unclear on the concept of how power outages hurt the economy.

    You wrote, “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.”

    When the power goes out, it causes huge negative economic impacts, we lose money we would have made, by stopping business in its tracks. I was in a Hawaiian restaurant once in San Francisco when the power went out. The restaurant could not keep the lights on or serve our food so we got up and left and didn’t spend any money at that restaurant. At that time the restaurant lost sales it was about to get and perhaps lost food due to its refrigerators and freezers being turned off.

    This kind of thing happens all over the economy when the power goes out. Businesses can’t accept credit cards and can’t keep the lights on. Businesses buy power because it is worth more to them than what they pay for it. Being cut off from electricity certainly does not save them money.

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