Once upon a time, when night falls, kids can look up to the sparkling night sky, filled with thousands of stars shining down on them. Lying on their backs, they count the stars and connect them to form pictures, and imagine what the world would be like if they were up there. There is so much beauty in the natural world available to us to enjoy, so much unknown for us to explore, and so much for us to imagine.
However, recently stars are disappearing. Although they still exist, but we are covering them up with our light pollution. The stars, planets, and galaxies are all obstructed by our excessive use of light. On average, about 2,500 stars are visible to humans when nothing is blocking them. But now, only about 200-300 can be seen in the suburbs and a fewer than a dozen in cities.
Not only does light pollution erase much of nature’s beauty, it can be harmful to wildlife. Birds sometimes get confused by the lights, and end up flying in circles until they drop from exhaustion. Sea turtles wouldn’t next on a beach unless it was dark. Some scientists have even observed that too much light can be harmful to human health.
No matter how much pollution light is producing, it does serve a great purpose: helping us see at night. So as Robert Gent, astronomer, said “ ‘If we shine lights down at the ground instead of up into the sky, and use lower brightness levels, we can save enormous amounts of energy and preserve the beauty of the night skies.’ ” This is a simple and inexpensive solution to light pollution. Many cities and towns have already passed laws limiting light emission at night, making sure that it’s enough to be safe, while not too much to minimize pollution.
That way, we can bring back the beauty of the night sky, and open up a whole new realm of imagination for children.