Better to Light a Single Candle than to Actually Have Enough Light to Read By

For all of recorded history, man has sought to drive out the darkness. First fire and then the electric light bulb brought man into glorious new epochs of modernity.

But it turns out that convenient, affordable light was a tragic mistake, and Thomas Edison is a villain worse than Pol Pot and that crazy army guy from Avatar combined. Because, behold and tremble, the light bulb has cursed us with… light pollution!

Light pollution is caused by stray artificial light from sources that are too bright, poorly aimed or both. Similar to how sunlight makes the sky glow blue, artificial light scatters in the atmosphere to create a dull glow that obscures stars and celestial objects. Airborne pollutants exacerbate the problem.

Aside from the loss of stars from view, light pollution has more quantifiably dangerous sides. One model of Los Angeles suggests it destroys about 7 percent of smog-eating chemicals that build up in the dark, leading to a 5 percent jump in wheeze-inducing ozone pollution during the day. Other studies show artificial light can thwart animal migrations and negatively impact human health.

Am I the only one who thinks this is transparent nonsense? Are people actually still buying these ginned-up crises?

Let’s just take it as a given that everything that makes life easy or comfortable or fun is really bad for us and bad for the environment, and that if we really knew what was best we’d take all our combustion engines and flush toilets and light bulbs to the recycling center and crush them up into a fine mulch that can be used to fertilize locally grown, organic kale. That way, at least we wouldn’t have to put up with any more kooks trying to raise our awareness about the latest fabricated dilemma that’s sure to mean the death of us all.

Leave a Reply