June 13th, 2024

City needs to address light pollution


By Lethbridge Herald on February 10, 2022.

Editor:

If someone left the light on in your bedroom and you couldn’t turn it off, would you get a healthy sleep? If someone shined a light through your bedroom window at 2 a.m. would that be OK? 

Presently you have no recourse against this from happening. And we all need a darkened space for a good night’s sleep as much as we need sunshine during the day. 

And so it goes for the rest of the natural world. 

One third of bee and butterfly species are in decline, beset by various evils including man made ones like pesticides, changing climate and light pollution. Now the numbers and the science can give you everything you want to know about the damage we do to our planet. In great detail and painful logic. 

But science doesn’t have a good record of convincing people of much these days. 

So let’s try a different point of view. Money is a good start. Let’s talk about how the city will save tons of money by not having as many lights on. Or better yet, how property values could go up because Lethbridge will have something very hard to come by these days, “bee friendly” backyards. Or to further monetize the case, more tourism. 

Lethbridge could always use another attraction and having “zones of darkness” would be a draw for an increasingly LED-stimulated population. 

Let’s try yet another point of view and look at this issue from a quality of life perspective.

 Quality of life is enhanced by nourishing peoples connection to nature or at least providing them with an easy connection to nature. And in a similar way, when you take away access to darkness you inadvertently take away access to something that resonates with our human-ness.

I remember days of my youth spent in backyards with no lights, enjoying the night sky and listening to the insect world. It is an education and a feeling that doesn’t monetize well, but in fact it is priceless. And in these days of covid where we’ve come to pay greater attention to where we live, it’s important we nourish and enable connections to the natural world. Maintaining that connection to nature is something we are intrinsically obliged to pass onto the next generation. 

Finally, I took a look at the last Integrated Community Sustainability Plan as part of the Municipal Development Plan. The very first line reads “we will continue to work together to ensure that Lethbridge is a leader in environmental stewardship, innovation and active leadership.” 

Well Lethbridge, it’s time to walk the talk and support the light nuisance bylaw initiative.

Gilles Leclair

Lethbridge

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Citi Zen

The world has changed. If you turn off the lights, the thieves will move in. We need lights to keep our streets safe.

SophieR

I was just doing some research on this interesting topic, and there are some recent studies that suggest that effective street lighting reduces a number of categories of crime.

To give Mr. Leclair his due, there is a good argument for reducing unnecessary light (or badly designed light) for the health of insects and other night creatures. Biodiversity is important.

Is there a middle ground?

IMO

Boulder CO legislated an Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. I’ve observed the positive difference this makes to control light pollution. Something can be done but it requires political will.

https://bouldercolorado.gov/services/outdoor-lighting-ordinance

buckwheat

Blackout curtains.

biff

it can be no secret that streets are safer at night where there are lights. there was controversy before and during the switch from what we long had. the issue with the lights we are now using is they are of spectrum that is akin to daylight. they may adversely affect the sleep of critters and people. and, they are just plain nasty.

Last edited 2 years ago by biff
prairiebreze

City needs to get informed and give us a decent bylaw with some teeth because light pollution has become a major problem – tons of info on this. If safety is a concern get a motion sensor and cameras. My neighbor recently turned their outdoor lights and now my yard and house is lit up. I don’t care if he pollutes his yard but I don’t want to see light on my property any more than I want to hear their dog barking. I welcome this bylaw!

Not An Oldman Yelling at the Clouds

Downward-shielded LED street lighting in Lethbridge has saved millions of dollars and minimized light leakage