Light Pollution Can Kill?


Back when I was working in the lab, weeks could go by when I didn't see the daylight hours. Without question, during those same weeks I stayed up late by the glow of my computer screen or television- It was self imposed, and always left me tired and feeling a little sick. But, that's nothing compared to the people who work all night long for a career- in fact it is hard to imagine any service industry that does not employ people at all hours of the day; and what about all the light flittering about our cities and towns? An increasingly large body of research shows us that our artificial light and irregularly long work days might be killing us.In modern life it is all too easy to become detached from the normal rhythms (circadian) of life. In many ways, we think of ourselves as having evolved beyond our daily interaction with nature. We can sit comfortably in our well lit, heated homes, and connect with our friends on Second Life- unaware of the blizzard, the rain, or even day and night. Treehugger has highlighted a few other areas, (food in particular), where we are beginning to realize we need to fall in step with the rhythm of life- because if we don't, the cost might very well be our own health.

I wasn't able to confirm the direct research in the links as much as I would have liked (it is in Russian) but I'm not surprised as there have been similar connections between light and health- from the serious disease seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) to articles on the use of melatonin to treat sleeping disorders. We have biologically evolved to be part of our environment, daylight hours included- so it is not surprising that when we detach ourselves from those mechanisms we end up feeling sick. Figuring out how to live a slower life, in sync with the world, may be one of the hardest goals to achieve- both personally and as a civilization- but it is one we will need to address sooner or later.::Innovation Report

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