Social Question

HollyF's avatar

What can be done about light pollution?

Asked by HollyF (187points) July 8th, 2011

You know, in the big cities, there are so many lights, from residences and commercial and office buildings, that it causes the area to heat up, and you can’t see the stars. What can we do besides stop building cities to reduce or eliminate light pollution?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

35 Answers

Mikewlf337's avatar

Turn off all the lights or ger rid of windows. I guess light pollution is another big travisty now for the green nuts.

Blackberry's avatar

Nothing. You can move to a more rural area, though, but we need electricity. Maybe you could advocate birth control or less breeding to keep the population from getting more out of control than it already is lol.

zenvelo's avatar

There is a lot that could be done. There are streetlights that are designed to light the ground and not the sky, office buildings could turn lights off at night, stores and businesses could turn off lights.

There is a false sense of security in stores that leave the lights on so the police can see any burglars. It is actually better if the lights are off, because then a thief has to use a flashlight, and it is much more evident to a passerby that something untoward is going on.

It takes, like any great change, a willingness on the part of the people and their government.

Seelix's avatar

I live very close to (a few hundred metres from) the Bay and CIBC office buildings in downtown Toronto. From my bedroom window, I can see both at night, and neither turns their lights off at night. I don’t know why – the lights are on at all hours every night, so it can’t just be for cleaning staff. I don’t see any stars. Ever.

I don’t know how to prevent light pollution, other than turning the lights off.

marinelife's avatar

In our bedrooms, we can use blackout curtains and eye masks. Light pollution really affects the body’s ability to get into deep, dream-filled sleep.

Cruiser's avatar

Pellet Gun.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Light pollution is a waste of energy. Lights should project downward to only light the intended area. The problem is the majority of people don’t even know there are stars and objects to look at out there. They don’t even understand that it is a issue.
When it finally hits their pocketbooks they’ll get it.

@Cruiser ‘s idea works too.

JLeslie's avatar

In my town houses are only allowed to have down lights on the exterior. Also commercial buildings are zoned far from residential for the most part. Any zoning of retail or other commercial business near residential has strict rules to follow for lighting and signage.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t know what can really be done. With business and industry comes the need for ‘security’ lighting. I am totally out of touch with this topic as I’m lucky to live in a rural low mountain foothills community at about a 2000 ft. elevation. NO city lights for 20 miles or so, the nights and the star gazing is amazing!

When I am in large cities on occasion, and traveling, I always notice the lack of stars and the glow of the lights.

I assume every city has it’s protocol and regulations, based on energy use and as @JLeslie says, zoning laws.

gailcalled's avatar

Join The International Dark Sky Association

Become a member of this rapidly growing Association and be part of the grass roots movement to curtail light pollution.

Blackberry's avatar

Alrighty then, I stand corrected lol.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma Security lighting does not have to shine into the sky – unless they are looking for the black helicopters.
When I need lighting for security purposes I use Infrared with the appropriate camera(s). I position the light source as high up as possible and aim it down. That is augmented with passive IR detection that turns on a visible source if motion is detected. It’s easy, saves energy and does not bother the neighbors.

The farmer down the road used to have a sodium vapor light that projected light ¾ of a mile away. What an eyesore. It burned out eventually. (I didn’t do it. Honest!)

JLeslie's avatar

Our security lighting is down light also, and it comes on with motion detectors.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Coloma ”’I…live in a rural low mountain foothills community at about a 2000 ft. elevation. NO city lights for 20 miles or so, the nights and the star gazing is amazing”
Shut up!

I can’t wait to move to the country. We live in a small town so it’s not as bad as it was in Wichita, but I can’t wait to get clear out into the country and look at the night sky from there.

Coloma's avatar


I agree…I had a neighbor up the hill with this like 5 million watt halogen floodlight, used to drive me nuts, but, it’s gone now too.


It is nice, I can’t deny that! :-)

I only have a 100 watt yellow bug bulb in my porch light on my deck, it is only on for maybe 2 hours in the evening, if I am in and out, and lots of solar torches. They work great! But ya know, this is Coloma speaking, even my outside lighting is mood lighting. haha

I flanked my ranch gate with the solar torches and the effect is really cool at night. :-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille That reminds me of a time when my son was about 8. I went in at 6 a.m. to wake him for school. I always warned them that I was getting ready to flip on the light. One morning I walked in and said, “Wake up! I’m turning on the light!”
My son says, “Wait a second!” I hear this “click click” sound. Then he says, “Ok! Turn it on!”
I did. He had his face in the pillow, then he raised it to look at me…he’d put on sunglasses! LOL!!!

@Coloma Those solar torches are pretty darn cool, aren’t they. Especially for how cheap they are. They’re making some super cool ones now, like stained glass looking and stuff. They cost more though. I just hesitate to spend $14 on one. Especially since you can’t have just one. You have to create some sort of pattern of some kind.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Dutchess_III I like the way he thinks! LOL

Coloma's avatar


I’ve got solar torches for 10 years, at least. haha
Bought about 30 for a party I threw 2 summers ago to line the edge of the cliff in my yard. About 30 feet long with a 7 ft. drop off at the peak. I staked the torches and strung ribbon across so the partiers wouldn’t fall off the cliff in the dark. lol

It was really cool too, I had green and yellow floodlights shining up into the trees…it looked amazing!

The 8 or so I have on my deck, on the gate to the goose corral and my ranch gate have weathered 2 winters and are still ‘torched.’ I have about 15 more in storage in my garage,

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know…they last a long time! Until the grandkids pull them apart to see how they work!
You have a CLIFF in your yard?? SU!!

@lucillelucillelucille He is very unique that way! Still is. : )

mattbrowne's avatar

City lights with motion sensors.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@mattbrowne What? It’d look like a strobe light party….

Coloma's avatar

I had to get rid of a motion sensor at an old house years ago, the cat walked on the deck rails and set it off like every 10 minutes at night. haha

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Coloma You needed to adjust the sensitivity. That is why they all come with two adjustments.

@mattbrowne I like the way you think.

Coloma's avatar

Hey pal, anytime you want to move into the guest cottage, well, I’ll have to build it first.
Build it and no more ‘worries.’ ;-)

ucme's avatar

I don’t know, i’m really in the dark about this ;¬}

incendiary_dan's avatar

I was going to say a similar thing as @Cruiser and @Dutchess_III , except I was going to recommend a .22 with subsonic rounds. Some of those lights are too tought for pellets, but shot seems overkill.

Mariah's avatar

My dad is an amateur astronomer, and a number of years ago he successfully advocated to get our small town to install shields on our street lights that direct the light downward. Many people advocating this in their local areas can make a big difference.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Streetlights and other sources of light pollution also tend to mess up the rhythms of various animals (us included).

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

To support @incendiary_dan‘s last post, Daytona Beach, Florida, has controlled the beach lighting for several years in the name of sea turtles coming ashore to bury their eggs. The city is now in the process of updating their requirements, which includes an additional focus on lighting pollution. One article on the subject.

YARNLADY's avatar

Overall, you can only control yourself. I suggest you join with other environmentally sensitive people and work to educate the general public.

mattbrowne's avatar

I read about the idea, don’t remember where. Needed to google. Take a look at these wonderful designs

“Now’s the time for smarter and more eco-friendly design when it comes to brightening our streets. These street lights are solar-powered, and using LED lights created by Phillips. These lamps were inspired by flower petals that blossom in the sun, while collecting energy.

The LED lights feature motion sensors that are triggered once the sun sets by individuals walking in close proximity to the light. If no one is around, the lights conserve energy by remaining off.”

Just ask your city council. Would be a great tourist attraction for the towns that invest first.

Response moderated (Spam)

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther