SDSS Planeteers decry Night Sky Pollution in the Saugeen Area



Dear Editor,

      We are the environmental group from SDSS called the Planeteers.  Like many others, we have noticed how difficult it is to see the beautiful works of the sky such as the Milky Way when looking up at the stars at night. Sadly, this is because of the light pollution taking over the town of Port Elgin.

      It may seem odd to some but it is becoming more and more recognized that light is a form of pollution. This pollution is mainly from excessive, inefficient and sometimes unnecessary lighting systems. Astro-Canada states that in Canadian cities 95% of stars usually visible to the naked eye, are now unnoticed because of the pollution of the lights.

       However, the beautiful night sky is not the only thing damaged by the lights.  There are also ecological consequences. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and even plants are damaged by our doing.  The main problem is that the light disrupts the eating patterns and ecological clocks of the animals. 

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03/03/2009 10:45 PM

It can adversely affect humans as well, as there can be depressed night time hormone production, one of the results of which is increased tumour growth, and increased risk of breast cancer in shift workers.

      With a few simple changes our community can do our part to reduce lighting at night. Before you go to bed, make it routine to turn off at least some of your outdoor lights and all indoor lights.  A major user of lights is our local businesses. Giant Tiger, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart and the Port Elgin Community Complex have all set excellent examples at having a combined 22 lights in their parking lot, whereas our new-comer Wal-Mart has a total of 53 lights in their parking lot. This is more than both the Wal-Mart in Owen Sound and Hanover.

Want to save money, energy, reduce energy usage, and help create a better habitat for local animals while saving the night sky?  Take part in Earth Hour march 28, and turn off your light 8-9. Do your part and dim down.

SDDS Planeteers 

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