Before I get to this week’s challenge I had a lovely day. The sun was shining brightly and I took care of a few errands. The children joined me at the local thrift shop (I needed a few things) of course when they are with me I end up buying more than what is on my list.
The children have been doing chores to earn money and this week helped with sorting the recyclables from the trash, picking up litter, feeding the birds along with watching my indoor plants and watering them when needed. For this I gave them each $0.75. My grandson bought 2 shirts and a puzzle, his sister purchased a throw pillow with Sleeping Beauty on it a summer top and a puzzle.
My purchases included a never worn dress for the youngest granddaughter as her mom told me she’s running out of clothes which fit her. This still had the original price tag on it of $32, I purchased it for $2. I picked up a picture frame, 3 summer tops (needed as I cleaned out my summer clothing), a 24 pack of colored pencils for the young artist, an alphabet bingo game for rainy days, and six books (these will be passed around then returned to the thrift shop or the library) Total cost for my purchases $6.25. Can’t beat that.
Back to this week’s challenge from Reduce Footprints. Unfortunately this is something I don’t have much, if any control over.
- Turn off indoor lighting which isn’t necessary. In rooms where lights are required, be sure to close the curtains so that the glow doesn’t escape outdoors.
- Install a motion detector on outdoor security lighting.
- Use lights only when necessary … avoid dusk-to-dawn lighting (for example, a porch light doesn’t need to be on all night).
- Lower the wattage on outdoor lights (a 300 watt flood light is not necessary).
- Light only what needs to be lit. For example, if you need a front porch light, be sure that it lights the door and not the entire yard.
- Use full cutoff, low-glare fixtures (also called night sky friendly outdoor lighting fixtures). These fixtures direct the light to the ground. They typically have a cap, on top, which restricts the glow from affecting the sky or other areas.
- Instead of a light for your driveaway, consider reflectors.
- Share information on your blog and/or with your friends … many people don’t know the problems with light pollution.
Light pollution is a huge problem. In addition to how it affects the wildlife around us it also obscures the night sky. Last summer my granddaughter and I sat out on a cloudless night and tried to see how many stars we could count. When I was younger the stars were so plenty there was no way to count them. But now, even being in a small town which has less lights than a city, we counted six. We took a walk and tried to find the darkest spot around my neighborhood but there are enough lights around town we couldn’t find more than our six. Forget trying to point out the constellations, there were none visible. Are we going to find ourselves completely removed from the night sky?
Renting, the outdoor lighting is a security concern with insurance implications. The front of the building doesn’t need extra lighting because there is a street light that is bright enough to allow for safe entry but the back is a different story. The owners did remove the outdoor lights from the outside of the building but have a flood light among the sumac in the Little Cove. While this is a low crime area you still have to have outdoor lighting which and is required by property insurance.
I don’t think the spiders are all that lucky here though as we have a large bat population which does a good job catching anything that flies but still it is a concern.
Another lighting issue is the interior hallway. Since there is zero natural light coming into this common hall which connects all the apartments therefore lights on at all times. While this doesn’t affect the night creatures it does use energy I wish it didn’t. Again, I have no control over this.
As for what I do have control over is the lighting inside my apartment. I recently converted all my bulbs to LEDs (not like I have all that many) and yes I do close the curtains as dusk falls. This is partly because I want to reduce light pollution and partly for privacy. As I write this my curtains are closed and I have just one lamp on.
If I owned my property, and when I did, I would use a combination of reflectors and the lowest possible wattage bulb on a motion detecting fixture. There are a couple of newer options out there today. One is a dim LED light installed under steps leading to the home which at least protects people from falling when encountering stairs. Another is a glow in the dark paint which can be used on rocks and stepping-stones to light up a path. I haven’t checked into the paint so I can’t vouch for the environmental footprint of such a paint but here is one post on outdoor lighting which talks about the paint.
Have you found an option which reduces light pollution? Let’s see how many ideas we can come up with.