Why The Dark Night Is Important
Updated: Apr 24
"Blinded by the light..." thank you Springsteen for that.
You ever find yourself at a nighttime overlook of a city at the sparkling lights below and think of how awesome it would be if those lights weren't so damn bright or if they weren't on at all?
When I see the lights of a city all I can think of is light pollution and how much I love the dark night. On the mesa in Colorado where we lived at 10,000 ft and had to cross-country ski a couple of miles to get to our home, was one of those places that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face and it was incredibly beautiful.
Then, one day after years of skiing with my headlamp through the peaceful and freezing cold darkness, keeping track of my dogs that had red lights on their collars as they ran through the snowy fields, someone built a massive mansion off in the distance, lit that house up at night like the Luxor in Vegas and forever destroyed the dark night of that beautiful place.
The killer of that light was the people who built that home were never even there. Blood boiling yet? Tell me about it. I imagine they did it for safety but from what? We are so conditioned to believe that lighting everything up at night is going to keep the bad guys away but have you ever thought about how bad it is for wildlife?
A friend recently visited and we got to talking about animals and lights on the beach because we have some pretty awful neighbors here that are set on broadcasting massive light beams from their homes out onto the ocean, the beach, and their entire surrounding properties destroying the beauty of the night sky, and causing the deaths of so many animals. This gentleman introduced me to a fascinating story that was written about how animals understand the world and how our light and sound pollution lead to their catastrophic deaths. It's not the kind of story that makes you feel terrible for being a human but rather sheds light on how easy it is to fix this problem.
"Plastics will continue to despoil the oceans even if all plastic production halts tomorrow. But light pollution ceases as soon as lights are turned off. Noise pollution abates once engines and propellers wind down. We will never fully do any of these things either, but we are the only animal that can try. " Ed Yong, An Immense World
I can only imagine how hard this is on our local Turtle Conservation Foundation who has to walk by these people's houses each night as they patrol the beach to protect Sea Turtles - their life's work, and these neighbors refuse to turn off their lights. Turtles use the light color of the ocean illuminated by the moon and stars to guide them and are easily disoriented by house lights. This turtle, on the brink of death from exhaustion was found wandering through town and couldn't get back to the ocean without our help. This is all too common and leads to millions of Sea Turtle deaths every year.
When we check people in at our resort, we explain to them how we turn off all our lights to protect the dark night and I am surprised that most our guests have never heard that before or even understand why it's important. The jungle comes alive at night and it's fascinating to learn about how the myriad of species are able to hunt, communicate, circulate, live, and perceive the world around them in what we believe is total darkness. If you would love to see the jungle at night, remember your red light.
Your Friends in Morrillo, Cari and Ryan Mackey Owners and Hosts Morrillo Beach Eco Resort