This poetic video, shot in my own overlit hometown, likely expresses the filmmakers ideas about wasting electricity. But like all good art it has multiple interpretations. I’m going to suggest that it shows how electric lighting has stolen the gift of night, robbing us of our night skies and peaceful sleep.
There’s a large body of evidence that artificial light plays havoc with our sleep patterns, health and psychological well being, to say nothing of its detrimental effect on wildlife. And then there’s that night sky. You can actually count the number of stars in the sky in Los Angeles.
Thankfully this is one of the issues that we can help change on the home level. Other than one small LED light at the bottom of our entrance stairs we have no landscape lighting (though Mrs. Homegrown did sneak a string of Christmas lights past my bah-humbug filter). We can also take measures to darken our bedrooms at night. While this may at first seem like tin foil hat talk, consider that the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified night shift work as a carcinogen.
Several years ago I heard a psychologist speak eloquently on the need for dark nights (unfortunately I can’t remember his name). He proposed getting a small town do a trial period of shutting all their lights out at night to see how it would change the well being of the town’s inhabitants. It’s a great idea. So let’s get on it. I’d like to think we can experiment with returning night to our towns and cities before that dinosaur juice peaks out.