Beyond Organic Gardening, Thoughts on Light Pollution

Cute lights to us, but I think a lightning bug would find a fellow mate cuter than a bulb.
Cute lights to us, but a lightning bug would find a mate better without them.

This summer, I was so excited about my solar led garden lights.  I thought how wonderful they are for a night time experience in the garden.  Then I started hearing about the loss of lightning bugs this year.  My thoughts turned to, “Man, I should probably take out these extra lights.”  We live in a world that is artificially over lit most of the time, from street lights to cars to houses.  This effects bugs, frogs, and nocturnal creatures of all sorts.  Not to mention the loss of our night time sky which provides a guide for birds and the oceans’ sea turtles.

The International Dark Sky Association has much more info on the subject.

View from the Southeastern part of Puerto Rico out to the Caribbean ocean.
View from the Southeastern part of Puerto Rico out to the Caribbean ocean.

This past September, we were in Puerto Rico to enjoy its natural beauty.  Puerto Rico is lucky enough to have 3 of the world’s bio-luminous bays.  We have kayaked and walked Laguna Grande in Fajardo.  It is part of Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve.  The walking tour we took this past trip gave us much more information about the bio-luminous creatures and their needs.

They need extremely organically rich mangrove areas, darkness, and a bay with only one access point from the ocean.   From space, Puerto Rico is the most lit up of the Caribbean Islands, and they are really trying to change that.  There are new sorts of street lights that illuminate straight down without shining out into the distance, as well as a thought to just not illuminate the night.

(You can take a glace at the world’s light pollution here)

Take a moment and think about your surroundings.  Do you need to keep the porch light on all night?  Do the trees in your yard need a spot light? Can you use candles to make your evening in the garden special?  Also, imagine that you are a bug or a small being that needs decay and organic materials to survive.  Keep the garden a little messy.  Add branches and broken tree limbs to your garden.  Provide the decay to help life thrive.  We people have caused a lot of havoc (most of the time in thought that we are bettering life), but it is time to think beyond ourselves.  The world is our world because of all the organisms.

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