James Lowenthal: Northampton needs an outdoor lighting committee

Published: 5/6/2019 6:44:19 PM

We applaud Northampton City Council’s decision to create a panel to examine the city’s pesticide use and how to reduce it and its harmful effects on wildlife and people, especially children.

Pollinating insects, which are in wide decline and are harmed by pesticides, are both critical to our food supply and play many important roles in most ecosystems.

We would like to bring to the public’s attention another serious threat to Northampton’s pollinators and to human health: light pollution. Light pollution can reduce visits to flowering plants by pollinating insects by more than 50 percent and threatens some species with extinction.

Insects drawn to the wonderful new pollinator garden in Pulaski Park, for example, are bathed all night long with too-bright, too-blue, unshielded light from LEDs that are 15 times brighter than in some parks in New York City. Lights in Pulaski Park exceed the maximum blue content recommended by the American Medical Association for human health.

As the citizen group Northampton City Lights, we suggest that now is the time for Northampton to form an Outdoor Lighting Committee that will advocate for appropriate and safe lighting in future city projects to protect both wildlife and human health.




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