A Silent Cry for Dark Skies
Many of us live in a world of urban constellations, unable to see the stellar constellations a moderately dark sky would provide. We should ask ourselves whether this is the legacy we wish to leave our children. The dark sky is a natural resource that should be protected. The ongoing loss of a dark night sky for much of the worldвЂ™s population is a growing, serious issue that impacts not only astronomical research, but also human health, ecology and ecosystems, safety and security, and energy conservation. Up to $10 billion dollars is wasted each year in the United States by lighting up the underbellies of birds and clouds.1,2 According to the United Nations, 2008 will be the first year in which 3.3 billion people, over half of the world's population, will live in cities.3 With the growth of large cities in Africa and Asia, the number of people living in cities could climb to 5 billion by 2030. As cities grow, so does their impact on the global environment.
In particular, light pollution has a negative influence on a variety of animals and plants in a variety of ways. It has been shown to disorient animals. Light pollution affects mating, alters predator-prey behavior, confuses migration, and influences animal physiology. Effects have been observed over a full range of taxonomic groups, including birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, and plants. Here in particular we will discuss the effects of nighttime artificial lighting on sea turtles, birds, frogs, salamanders, insects, plants and fish.
Frogs and Salamanders
Insects, Plants, and Fish
A Global Problem with a Local Solution: The GLOBE at Night Programs
Activity 1: Your Students as Citizen Scientists
Activity 2: Demonstrating Light Pollution and Shielding