Fighting the light My Story

| 31 May 2016 | 12:18

Dear, dear readers, this needs your immediate attention to stop your block, even worse, your lower floor home, from being turned into pseudo-daylight by the conversion of city streetlights to the LED light kind. So thankfully there is a concenerd group and a city council bill to make these lights less invasive, but it will need all the support and help possible.

And so thankfully, here is the letter from a New York City member of Internatinal Dark Sky Association, a non-profit group of scientists and concerned lay people working against all manner of light pollution. Incidentially my column had said that reducing the excessive light wattage, in general, is the “first-do-no-harm” way to save electric light energy.

Dear Bette Dewing,

“Lowering the wattage” won’t help solve the problems associated with the LED light streetlights. The percentage of “blue light” is the problem: The LED streetlights that DOT is using are very high in blue light waves. That is causing the perception of greater brightness, glare and the ugly appearance to our streets. Blue light also disrupts our circadian rythyms and our sleep cycles since the light from streetlights invariably enters our homes. The lights being installed all over the city are 4000 Kelvin and replaced streetlights with 1800 Kelvin.

There is a bill in the City Council for DOT to use 3000 Kelvin or less. Please have people contact their council members to sponsor the bill #Intl.No. 8223

Susan Harder

International Dark Sky Association

Ah, there is so much we must do. Maybe, start by phoning the elected officials listed in this paper’s Useful Contacts column. Talk it up at civic meetings and everywhere else. You Internet users check out LED streetlight protests found there – worldwide they are - and news clips. Share these stories which describe how really horrific it is for those communities bombarded by this unnatural light that even invades homes, our “havens from a heartless world,” to quote Christopher Lasch. And in a large city especially growing denser by the day – and hey, shouldn’t be there be density limits there too? Another critical issue too little addressed.

But this column must be especially brief, unfortunately, because my computer has alredy lost two columns. Help! But so much must and can be done to raise awareness, above all, and especially among policymakers and civic groups and of course, media, that these glaring lights don’t have to be, must not be so appallingly, so harmfully intrusive. Most still unafflicted New Yorkers haven’t a clue how their homes will be so affected – especially those on lower floors. And of course, the neighborhoods in general also suffer; now citizens in afflicted nabes must wear sunglasses on their evening strolls. And so much more!

Incidentally, co-op and condo boards should get involved because lower-floor apartments are especially affected, not only the quality and health of life there. but real estate values will plummet.

Ah, but seeing is believing, and that’s what the majority of still unafflicted New Yorkers must witness first-hand. Organized bus tours to the LED streetlight areas are an absolute must. And somehow let everyone know that unless there’s a massive protest, and all-out support for the light-modifying city council bill, your nights will also become a hellish kind of pseudo daylight. The city in general loses its nighttime beauty. And my computer keeps shutting down, so again, please, please, get involved. And as Susan Harder said in a follow up note, “While the city has many problems, this one affects everyone!”

So please share this column too – and again, without modications. this is a totally destructive way to save energy.

And it can be overcome if enough of us try – if enough of us try. Rome is burning!