Dark Sky Week | April 2-8, 2024

Welcome to Dark Sky Week 2024!  

Want to know more about Bon Accord's International Dark Sky Community designation? Check out this page.

The sections below are meant to educate residents, businesses and visitors about the dangers of light pollution, but also outline solutions that we can all implement to reduce light pollution and  its harmful effects on us and our environment.

What is light pollution?

Light pollution is the human-made alteration of outdoor light levels from those occurring naturally. 

When we over-light, fail to use timers and sensors, or use the wrong color of light, we can negatively affect many parts of our world, including migratory birds, pollinators, sea turtles, and mammals, including humans.

The good news is that light pollution, unlike many other forms of pollution, is reversible, and each one of us can make a difference! Just being aware that light pollution is a problem is not enough — we need to take action.

What can I do about it?

  • Use only fully shielded, DarkSky Approved fixtures for all outdoor lighting, so lights shine down, not up.
  • Use only the right amount of light needed. Too much light is wasteful and harms wildlife.
  • Install timers and dimmer switches and turn off lights when not in use. If you must have security lighting, use motion sensors.
  • Turn off lights in office buildings and homes when not in use.
  • Use only lighting with a color temperature of 3000 K and below to reduce the blue cool light that’s more harmful to many animal species.
  • Work with your neighbors and local governments to ensure outdoor lighting isn’t harming the wildlife in your area.

View the full PDF on Light Pollution here.

Bright lights do not equate to greater safety.

Lighting up the nighttime environment does not necessarily increase safety and security. Effective lighting that helps people be safe —not just feel safe—is a win-win situation for everyone.

At home: Poor lighting can create a false sense of security.

Poorly designed outdoor lighting can backfire on safety. Bright and misdirected lights create shadows for criminals to hide, and some crimes, like vandalism, thrive in well-lit areas. Floodlights, for example, may highlight potential targets.

In town: Light for light’s sake doesn’t equal increased safety.

While towns, cities, and businesses aim to enhance safety with lighting, poorly aimed and inadequately shielded lights can attract criminals. A Chicago study identified a correlation between increased crime and overly bright alleyways.

On the road: bad lighting creates unsafe driving conditions.

Inadequate roadway lighting causes glare, contributing to accidents, especially affecting older individuals. A 2015 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health study revealed that streetlights don't effectively prevent accidents or crime but they do cost a lot of money.

Make your home safer with smart lighting choices.

  • Use fully shielded, dark-sky friendly fixtures so light shines where it’s needed and does not create glare or extreme contrasts. 
  • Only use lights when and where needed. Install timers and dimmer switches, and turn off lights when not in use. If you must have security lighting, use motion sensors.
  • Use the right amount of light. Too much light is wasteful and impairs vision.
  • Use long-wavelength lights with a red or yellow tint to minimize negative health effects.
  • Work with your local government to improve lighting conditions along roadways and shared spaces. Cities and towns can also restrict the use of bright signs and flashing lights near roadways.

View the full PDF on Lights and Safety here.

Light pollution harms our health and wellbeing. 

Over the past 100 years, humans have transformed the night, erasing the natural darkness with which we evolved. While artificial light at night is crucial to our modern world, it comes at a cost.  Increasing scientific research indicates that artificial light at night has detrimental effects on human health and well-being.  

Circadian rhythm disruption

Largely influenced by the light and dark, our circadian rhythm is our body's natural 24-hour regulating clock. Circadian disruption occurs when our internal clock is out of sync with the day-night cycle. Circadian disruption has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, mood disorders, reproductive problems, and cancers.

Decreased melatonin production

While we are still learning about the relationship between artificial light and human health, we know that exposure to light at night—even at dim levels—can suppress the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle, metabolism, and immune system.

Glare impairs vision

Irresponsible outdoor lighting at night decreases safety.  Overly bright and poorly shielded lighting creates blinding glare, impairing vision leading to dangerous missteps and accidents. Blue light, often used in newer LED streetlights, is more likely to create dangerous glare.

Live a healthy life in a world filled with artificial light.

  • Use fully shielded outdoor light fixtures to minimize the light that streams into your home.
  • Use indoor light bulbs that emit warm white light with a color temp. of 3000K or lower. 
  • When it’s time for bed, keep your bedroom dark by using blackout curtains and covering all light sources such as clock radios and charging stations.
  • If you need a nightlight, use one with dim red or amber light. Red light is least likely to be disruptive.
  • Try not to use devices with screens 30-minutes prior to sleeping. If you must use devices at night, install a color temperature app that reduces blue light levels. 
  • Work with your neighbors and local government to reduce light pollution in your community.

View the full PDF on Health here.