(translated by 吳耀翰)
Because Taipei city is such that the residential always mixes with the commercial, and since commercial buildings here often leave their lights on after closing, we have a really bad case of nightly light pollution. If you don’t have proper blinds and an eye mask, light sleepers and insomniacs may have a tough time sleeping. But guess who else suffers from this light pollution? The birds! – I was shocked to know that.
Historically, before electric light and big cities, people had candles and the moon to light their nights – the sun and smiles to light their days… 🙂 Not sure if in the end Tesla’s invention is such a good one after all, until people know the consequences, and ensure they are minimal.
Today, people are spilling massive amounts of money paying for electricity to light their store signs at night on streets where no one is walking or paying attention to stores that are shut tight till the morning. It’s a huge waste of personal resources and national stores of electricity, not to mention the light pollution! Makes me crazy! The hugest promotion of a place is the hospitality, not how bright your commercial lights are during closing hours at 3am… There is this one woman on Wuxing St. 吳興街 who is the main person at the counter during the day serving lunchtime customers. Her smile – genuine and sweet – never ceases! It’s a beautiful thing. She’s a confident, happy, inviting personality. There’s never a day where a crowd doesn’t surround their counter waiting for tea!
As a recovered insomniac, I still am more sensitive to nighttime sleeping conditions, that after my tenancy year is up, I’ll be moving to a place closer to the little mountainous area on the outskirts of Taipei, away from the sound and air pollution of traffic, and light pollution of streetlamps and silly, ultra-urbanized stores that are so focused on promoting themselves.
An article from The Dark Sky Movement says: ‘Plants and animals, including humans, are attuned to the 24-hour seasonal cycle of light and dark that has ruled the planet for millions of years. Mating behaviors, the timing of migration, sleep, and predation are all determined by the length of nighttime darkness. Introducing electric light into the landscape and into the atmosphere, in the form of skyglow, can disrupt these cycles and patterns. Unlike the developer’s bulldozer, light pollution destroys natural habitats insidiously.’
‘The rising tide of energy-efficient LED streetlighting could prove a doubled-edged sword in terms of light pollution impacts on wildlife. LED technology lends itself to control in terms of both beampattern and dimming/switching; therefore careful deployment of LED lighting using higher levels of control could abate some of the problems caused by light pollution. However, the replacement of HPS street- and area lighting with LED could introduce a major change in the color of urban skyglow. The higher blue content in LED lighting is more subject to scattering in the atmosphere, especially by cloud cover, thus increasing skyglow. In addition, the blue spectra have a greater impact on melatonin production and could further disrupt sleep patterns in diurnal animals, including humans.’
‘James Karl Fischer, president of the not-for-profit Zoological Lighting Institute and principal of Zoological Lighting Services , is concerned: “Efficiency is great for saving money, but it must be combined with light output. Overall, outdoor light levels keep going up and up and up, and more efficient sources contribute to that. It’s not as if energy consumption is being cut. It’s as high as it’s ever been.”‘
‘非營利性機構動物性光照公司的總裁詹姆士．卡爾（James Karl Fischer）認為，“效能是省錢的好方法，但必須與輸出作結合考量。整體而言，戶外的光照等級持續地上升，而更多有效率的來源造成了這事實。這不是能源有可能被中斷的問題，這是它已到了有史最高點。”’
‘…dazzling city lights can confuse migrating birds and lure them into urban areas. Birds attracted by light may collide with buildings or circle light sources endlessly until they are exhausted.’
So, what’s the solution? Taiwan needs codes and legislation around urban lighting. Store owners, residents, and skyscrapers, please turn your lights off at night! Save the money, and burn less coal in thermal power plants while you’re at it!
Instead, let your love light the night. 😉 xoxo