Fighting the Loss of Night

Marco Evers in Der Spiegel:

ScreenHunter_07 Feb. 22 13.10 But now a new movement is taking shape worldwide in opposition to the misuse of artificial light. Stargazers, environmentalists, light engineers, cultural anthropologists and doctors specializing in the treatment of sleep disorders all want to put an end to the dictatorship of eternal light. Light pollution is a rapidly growing environmental problem, but it is also one that could be solved relatively easily. In many cases, all it takes is goodwill and a few little tricks.

Some countries have already passed laws and regulations to control light pollution. Slovenia is a pioneer in Europe. There, cities and towns are now required to reduce their light emissions. In addition, artificial lights must shine in such a way that their light beams do not rise above the horizon. This spells the end of the “skybeam” searchlights much loved by nightclub operators.

Germany has been less active on the photon front, although German scientists did recently embark on the battle against light pollution. Under the leadership of the Berlin-based Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), more than two dozen scientists from various disciplines will study the effects of light pollution on plants, animals and human beings, as well as what to do about it.

More here.