Light Pollution Affects Us All

Lights at night in Asia and Australia

You know the sky is dark at night and light during the day. It’s a pattern we can count on. This pattern of light and dark helps us sleep at night. 

But look at the photo. People are using lots of light at night around the world. When people use too much light at night, it causes light pollution. 

Light pollution lights up the night sky. It can make nighttime seem like day. This disrupts the pattern of day and night. Do you know who else depends on this pattern? Animals. 

Deer and other animals hide from predators at night. When lights brighten the night sky, there are fewer places to hide. Toads and frogs croak at night as part of their breeding ritual. When night is less dark, they don’t croak as much. This leads to fewer toads and frogs reproducing. 

Light pollution can harm animals in other ways, too. Baby sea turtles hatch on beaches at night. Moonlight shows them the way back to the sea. But sometimes, lights from nearby buildings confuse the turtles. They crawl toward these lights instead of toward the water.  

How can we prevent light pollution? You can help!  

  • Turn lights off when they are not needed. 
  • Keep curtains closed at night. 
  • Use lights that point down instead of up.  

What Do You Think? How does light pollution affect your view of the night sky? 

Photo Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory/NOAA/DoD