viverra: (Default)
I don't like streetlights.
I live in a semi-rural area, and the stars are glorious. The fireflies dance in the summer air over my meadow, and at night I can hear fox kits playing in the brush. In the winter, the landscape glows with starlight, and moonlight makes eerily garish splashes of light and shadow on the snow.
Bright streetlights chase all this away.

Streetlights make me feel exposed and vulnerable.
I'm walking along the road, and enter a pool of light that ruins my night vision. Anyone can see me, but I can't see outside that small light circle. I can only hope no surprises await me as I continue on my way. Once I am in the dark and my eyes adjust again, I can relax.

Streetlighting is expensive.
I once went to Town Meeting to present the Ambulance Corps budget, which was about $40,000. We spent half an hour nickle-and-diming it -- do you _really_ need a new defibrillator? Two hundred dollars a year is too much for gauze - you need to charge the patients so this is not a budget item. Finally they approved it. Next item on the agenda was street lighting: $40,000 approved with no discussion. This for a small NH town, more than 15 years ago. I hate to think what it costs today.

Excessive light at night is a carcinogen.
Say what?
There has been mounting evidence for years that disrupting circadian rhythms causes a plethora of health problems. Many links can be found at

But now the WHO has weighed in, and the American Cancer Society will probably follow suit.
"Next month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, will add overnight shift work as a probable carcinogen. The American Cancer Society says it will likely follow. Up to now, the U.S. organization has considered the work-cancer link to be "uncertain, controversial or unproven." -- AP (
So far, the big guns are only admitting correlation, not causation. And only with night shift work, not with artificial lighting itself. They are apparently admitting that lighting is the likely cause, though. And using red light (other papers say amber) causes less of a correlation.

Oh yes -- I should also mention that the studies of the supposed security benefits of lighting all deal with urban areas. It doesn't transfer to a rural setting. In rural areas, providing light just lets the thieves see what they are doing. And annoys the residents, who live out here because they want to see the stars.


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August 2016

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