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The skies over Toronto are far from pristine. Lights from buildings, houses, cars and roads light the sky from below. Far from the city you would be able to see thousands of stars without a telescope. In the city only a few stars are visible. The loss of the natural wonders of the universe for most people in developed areas is saddening, but there are many more reasons why we should work on reducing light pollution:

  • Many light fixtures emit light horizontally, creating glare. This glare temporarily blinds people and is a safety issue in traffic. Some fixtures emit light up where it has no use.
  • The use of lights creates darker and lighter areas. When walking in the light, your eyes will be less sensitive which makes it easier for ill-intended people to hide in the dark. Research is showing that turning off security lights often improves security.
  • We spend a lot of money on lighting, a lot of that money could be saved.
  • Reducing light pollution reduces our use of energy; contributing to a better environment.
  • Light at night distorts natural animal behaviour, having profound impact on many species’ chances of survival.
  • Light at night affects us humans and distorts our biorhythm. Light at night has been shown to increase our chances of cancers and other serious diseases.

Here are some ways you can experiment with lowering your own light pollution contribution:

  • Close your curtains at night.
  • Look at light fixtures on the outside of your house. Can you turn them off, or can you replace them with lights that reflect light down? Would lights with a motion sensor work for you?
  • Participate in 'Globe at Night' and 'Great Worldwide Star Count' light pollution measurements to help light pollution research.
  • Talk with others about light pollution.

The RASC plays an active role in creating awareness of light pollution and ways to reduce it. Our light pollution committee is involved in developing policies with local government.