Lights Out London:
Help to preserve dark skies this spring

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What if you could help reduce environmental pollution and potentially save lives with a simple flip of a switch? That's exactly what we at Bird Friendly London are asking people and businesses in London to do. This spring, will you join us in turning off unneeded lights after dark? Bird Friendly London is partnering with the City of London and numerous other organizations to raise awareness of simple solutions to reduce light pollution.
 

Help us reduce light pollution this spring

This year, Bird Friendly London is launching a grassroots city-wide initiative to reduce light pollution in London by encouraging people and businesses to turn off unneeded lights after dark. The focus of this event is during the week of May 13-19, 2022, coinciding with World Migratory Bird Day on May 14. This year's theme for World Migratory Bird Day is dedicated to reducing light pollution. Nature Canada and various other bird conservation organizations across the country, including other Bird Friendly Cities like London, are similarly participating by turning off their lights after dark.

You can learn more about the state of light pollution in London, and access relevant resources to help reduce light pollution at the Help Birds section of our website.

Participating is really easy - all we ask is that you complete these three steps:

  1. Let us know! If you are a business or property manager in London or surrounding area, or if you live in a large residential building that will be participating, please fill out this form indicating that you'll be turning out some or all of your lights after dark. We would be thrilled to acknowledge you among participating partners in London.

  2. Let people at your organization or in your community know about this initiative, to ensure they're aware of opportunities to join in. We suggest circulating an email to people who should know about this in the first week of May and/or posting notices on the premises to remind building users to turn off lights at the end of each work day, or to close curtains or blinds if bright lights will be left on inside. You may want to print or circulate this template poster, such as by posting it near an elevator or main entrance.

  3. Please share word of your participation on social media, to help raise awareness of light pollution and your organization's commitment to address it. We suggest using the hashtag #lightsoutlondon or tagging us at @BirdFriendlyLdn on twitter or Instagram.

 

For more information about this initiative, please contact us at londonbirdteam@gmail.com

 

What's this about?

Being able to see at night after the sun goes down is obviously important for safety, accessibility and modern life. But what many people don't realize is that excessive lights left on after dark can be extremely harmful for the environment in a variety of ways. For example, when artificial light at night is cast up into the night sky by unshielded outdoor light fixtures, stadium lights, electronic billboards, lights inside and on buildings, and by a host of other sources, the resulting glow in the night sky can be disruptive to birds that depend on being able to see celestial cues, like the stars, to navigate at night during their migration. As birds pass over cities with a lot of lights left on after dark, they may become disoriented by the lights and drawn towards buildings, where are they face elevated risk of collisions with windows.

 

Light pollution impacts birds, ecosystems and human health in ways that are not fully understood yet, but many negative effects have been documented. For instance, lights left on after dark will disrupt the behaviour and health of insects that birds and other animals rely on for food. Lights are known to impact biological processes in plants and a variety of animals, resulting in changes to reproductive and feeding behaviours. In humans, light pollution can wreak havoc on natural body rhythms, such as the production of the hormone melatonin which is released only if it is dark and is inhibited when there is light present. An increased amount of light at night can lower melatonin production, potentially resulting in sleep deprivation, fatigue, headaches, stress, anxiety, and other health problems. Recent studies have also found evidence for a connection between reduced melatonin levels and the risk of cancer.

Together, we can significantly reduce the impacts of light pollution by simply shutting off unneeded lights at night. This initiative is open to businesses as well as individual homeowners and renters. We can all play a part by limiting artificial light from spilling into the environment.