view of hollywood during nightroom showing the entire cityscape and an orange glow emanating from the city

Living on the edge [light pollution]

I really didn’t give a shit about light pollution until a few years ago. I grew up in a place where every fucking neighbor would leave porch/driveway lights on all night.

Three summers ago I got my first taste of what it’s like to live in a place without artificial lights at night. At first, I was a little nervous–I had 5 windows in my bedroom with no curtains. Ugh.

But quickly I realized how BADASS it was to fall asleep and be able to (literally) see the stars from my bed.

The photo below shows what Orion looks like normally vs. in an area with light pollution. (Both photos are overexposed to bring out detail from more stars in the area.)

two photos side by side each of orion constellation. one has lots of stars around it, the other doesn't because of light pollution
Orion in rural skies vs. city skies

Unfortunately, some people can barely see the stars from where they live. In 1994, Los Angeles experienced an earthquake that shut off power throughout the city. As emergency centers were trying to take care of people, they were also receiving phone calls from concerned citizens reporting a mysterious “giant, silvery cloud” across the sky.

They. Were. Seeing. The. Milky. Way.

Image result for facepalm gif

Honestly, I’d be a little freaked out if I saw a giant shimmery cloud monster in the sky for the first time.

milky way galaxy photo taken from Earth

Since moving back out of town, I’ve noticed that I am sleeping much deeper again and I feel like I got better sleep upon waking up.

According to the International Dark Sky Association, artificial lighting at night time can have many negative effects on people’s health including increased risks for:

  • obesity
  • depression
  • sleep disorders
  • diabetes
  • breast cancer

Not only is a dark sky more magically to look at, but it also has had better effects on my health after moving.

But not everyone can or wants to move just to be in a darker environment. If changing your relationship with light pollution is important to you: download f.lux, close your curtains, and stop using your goddamn phone right before falling asleep.

Image result for phone drop gif

Peace. One love.

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