One of the best things about living outside of town is the amount of high-quality nature time that I get. Whether I am driving home or in my yard, there are constant reminders for me to feel “at home” with the natural world.
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.)
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.
Honestly, I’d be a little freaked out if I saw a giant shimmery cloud monster in the sky for the first time.
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:
- sleep disorders
- 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.
Peace. One love.
I grew up in a metropolitan area of about 4 million people. Growing up, I lived in suburbs. Even all throughout college, I lived in centrally-located apartments or houses.
It wasn’t until after I graduated that I lived on the edge of town. My closest neighbors were over soccer field distance away and on the other three sides of my house, I was surrounded by Forest Service land.
After living in this type of environment, I started to think about all the factors that go into how I live, what I value, and how these both influence where I choose to sign a lease:
- Light pollution
- Noise pollution
- Pace of life
- Conveniences/proximity to resources
- Bike vs. car friendly
I noticed differences in my life as they relate to these (and other) factors. I want to explore those deeper and see if they are just in my head or if there is any science backing them up.