Light Pollution Is “Increasing Faster Than The Human Population”

Jul 13, 2021

The International Dark Sky Association works to preserve views of the night sky and fight light pollution, which is created primarily by signage, businesses, streetlamps and residential homes. 


Diane Knutsen is the president of the board of directors for the association and says it’s a growing concern.  


“It's increasing faster than the human population at 2% every year. And not just intensity, but also the boundary is widening,” she said. “So, you only have in the United States about eight natural night places left.” 


Knutsen said dark skies are crucial to maintain healthy ecosystems.


“There are over 250,000 birds a day that are getting lost in their migration or light pollution patterns. Because they navigate by starlight at night, they get pulled into city areas,” she said. “They circle buildings that are illuminated, can't find their star pattern to get back out, continue their travels and then just pass out from exhaustion.” 


Knutsen said cities can put lights on dimmers and install motion sensors or timers to help. Instead of blue and white lights that mimic daytime, amber red lights are a better option. 


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This story comes from a recent interview on SDPB's weekday radio program, "In the Moment." Listen to the full interview below.