Whether you’re walking along a cul-de-sac sidewalk or headed to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a residential or commercial neighborhood that doesn’t have an abundance of lights to guide the way. And unless you’ve ever lived in a truly rural area, chances are that you’ve always lived with more lights around you than visible stars in the sky above.

But that abundance isn’t simply a harmless excess. A form of environmental harm that many of us in more densely populated areas have become acclimated to, light pollution is associated with a range of issues, including wildlife conservation and climate change, according to several experts.

While other forms of pollution are widely accepted as environmentally negative, “we haven’t had that discussion with artificial light,” says Ashley Wilson, director of conservation with the International Dark-Sky Association.

“Even the regulatory bodies, like the Illuminating Engineering Society, provide their recommendations, but the recommendations include minimum values and not maximum values,” she explains. “Communities will often opt to have lights brighter than these minimum values because they feel like it would make them more safe [but] it’s not really based on any research. or are testing.”

What are the Different Types of Light Pollution?
There are four main types of light pollution, according to the International Dark-Sky Association, the main organization focused on light pollution and its repercussions.

Skyglow is the combined illumination of all the light sources that creates an artificially bright arch in an urban area at night.

Glare is gratuitous, bright light causing discomfort or pain — like when you’re driving at night and another driver has left their high beams on.

Light trespass is when a light beams where it shouldn’t, unintentionally “trespassing.” That can look like a street light beaming straight into your bedroom at night.

Clutter is when too many sources of light are bunched together and cause confusion. A row of street lights without shields to direct the light downward can be a source of light clutter.

Read the full article about light pollution by Bridget Reed Morawski at EcoWatch.