To the editor:
Logan Mayor Holly Daines recently signed a proclamation urging residents and businesses to reduce light pollution. Thank you, Mayor Daines, and also to the Bridgerland Audubon Society, for helping to increase awareness of light pollution. Light pollution is bad for birds – it disrupts bird migration, foraging, and reproduction – and is also bad for people. If you’ve ever had a bright streetlight shining in your bedroom window, you know that people sleep better at night with dark skies.
Light pollution refers to nighttime light that is excessive or misdirected, such as floodlights aimed outward and upward. Reducing light pollution does not require sacrificing public safety. Overly bright streetlights cast bright light, but they also create dark shadows and prevent our eyes from adjusting to the darkness. Downward-facing lights can illuminate our sidewalks, streets, and front porches without lighting up the entire sky.
Residents can minimize light pollution by selecting lights that cast light downward rather than upward or outward. Importantly, businesses and streetlights in Logan typically use more lights and brighter lights than residences. I hope that Mayor Daines’ proclamation is a sign that she and the City Council will encourage future development projects to incorporate dark sky guidelines, such as lighting only when and where needed and using directional downward lights. If more of us choose outdoor lights that reduce light pollution, our neighbors will thank us, birds will be better off, and as a bonus we might save some cash on our power bills.