Time to Join the Dark Side

Posted on: 2nd April 2024

Time to join the Dark Side might seem an odd way for a Politician to start a blog post but I promise you I’ve not joined a dodgy cult of Political group. As it is Dark Skies week, I thought I’d say something about why ‘dark’ is good or, in other words, ‘light pollution is bad’.

Stars in Our Skies

Stars in Our Skies. Photograph provided by Caradon Observatory

Anyone into star gazing will know that light pollution can ruin that hobby, although at the moment the weather is doing that! What I am on about is how light pollution can disrupt the lives of many wildlife creatures and affect our own sleep patterns and mental well-being.

This link will tell you all you need to know on why light pollution affects moths and what you can do to play your part in reducing light pollution Find out about moths at night

Quoting from an article on human health
“Artificial light can wreak havoc on natural body rhythms in both humans and animals. Nocturnal light interrupts sleep and confuses the circadian rhythm—the internal, twenty-four-hour clock that guides day and night activities and affects physiological processes in nearly all living organisms. One of these processes is the production of the hormone melatonin, which is released when it is dark and is inhibited when there is light present. An increased amount of light at night lowers melatonin production, which results in sleep deprivation, fatigue, headaches, stress, anxiety, and other health problems.”      Full article re light pollution and human health

So, what about our streetlights being turned off at night? Whilst many people in quieter streets where this is happening are delighted a few feel unsafe. This is sad as evidence suggests there are fewer opportunistic car thefts and burglaries when it is dark – the burglar/ thief would likely need a torch to spot opportunities and decide where stuff worth nicking is but that would make them more conspicuous! Equally, if it is dark, fewer young people find it attractive to hang around the bus shelter or on street corners so there is often a decrease in anti-social behaviours. Anyone who really needs to go out after midnight, maybe to take the dog for a walk, where street lights are off, then the answer is take a torch, like some of us would have done in years gone by. Street lights are not being turned off on major roads, dodgy junctions or bends.