Shy of moving to the country-side, are there little actionable things you do in your daily life, or pieces of technology, or strategies you use to minimize your contribution and exposure to noise and light pollution?
Light and noise are two types of pollution you may not immediately think of as a threat to biodiversity in the Lower Chippewa River State Nature Area. Light pollution is artificial lighting that harms ecosystems. Bright streetlights and household security lighting that leak light into the night sky are the biggest source of light pollution and a waste of energy. Artificial nighttime glow has been linked to increased occurrence of skin cancer in organisms, as well as disruption of vital cycles that dictate sleep/wakefulness and migratory instincts.
These misguided lighting practices contribute to light pollution, which can disrupt wildlife, impact human health, and waste money and energy. As of 2018, the average American wastes 41-103 pounds of CO2 per year on excessive residential outdoor lighting alone (1). Across the country, this amounts to at least $1.4 to $3.5 billion wasted each year, unnecessarily lighting the dark around our homes. Our analysis also indicates that these numbers may grow as Americans are likely consuming more exterior lighting than ever before (2).
The hope is that this simple and inexpensive method of soundscape management will prove to be a valuable resource management tool towards fulfilling a goal of NPS Management Policy, Chapter 4.9 Soundscape Management. The National Park Service will preserve, to the greatest extent possible, the natural soundscapes of parks. Natural soundscapes exist in the absence of human-caused sound. The Service will restore degraded soundscapes to the natural condition wherever possible, and will protect natural soundscapes from degradation due to noise (undesirable human-caused sound).