Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blinded By The Light - by Katharine Fletcher

Rating ****
Amanda Boyd

          This article was about "light pollution" and the dangers it can cause for our wildlife and even ourselves. People have looked to the stars since the beginning of time and have used the night sky as a compass and a comfort for weary travelers. This article describes how times have changed and how in many places we can not see the stars and the night sky like we used to. The cause of this phenomena is "light pollution". Luckily, in many places within Ottawa Valley we are able to appreciate dark skies where "light pollution" does not cover the sky. The article describes how our wildlife needs darkness and how many creatures are disturbed by artificial light. For example, migrating birds die after flying into lit up skyscraper windows at night. Also, baby sea turtles find their way to the ocean by heading towards the path of moonlight shining on its surface but light from streetlamps, hotels, or beach houses confuses them. The article also describes how even humans are affected by "light pollution" because artificial light at night can affect a person's sleep and can increase their risk of depression, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

           I found this subject interesting because I enjoy going up to my cottage and being able to look up at the night sky without having any streetlights polluting the scene. I also wanted to learn more about how it affected animals. I was not aware of the issue of birds hitting skyscrapers at night. I also learned that it affected nocturnal predators.  For example, owls are able to hunt in darkness but when there are lights from buildings or streetlights it will reduce their hunting area because they will no longer hunt in that region. This article has made me more aware of the affect artificial light can have on wildlife so now I want to be more mindful of the harm it can bring. Also, when I am older I wish to live in the country so I will be able to enjoy the night sky in its full glory, undisturbed by artificial light.

Fletcher, K. (2014). Blinded by the light. Ottawa Outdoors, p.1.

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