INSOMNIA

For billions of years, all life has relied on Earth’s predictable rhythm of day and night. It’s encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals. Humans have radically disrupted this cycle by lighting up the night.

Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviours such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.

Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants.

The urban night sky is 100 to 1000 times brighter than the international brightness standard, according to my research. Artificial lighting at night is contributing to an alarming increase in light pollution, both in amount and in brightness, affecting places all over the world. 

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With more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, 3 out of every 4 people in cities have never experienced the wonderment of pristinely dark skies. How do I explain the importance of what they’ve lost to light pollution? How can I make them aware that light pollution is a concern on many fronts: safety, energy conservation, cost, health and effects on wildlife, as well as our ability to view the stars?  

At the end of the day- being exposed to a lot of artificial light, I tend to get headaches and my eyes feel very dry and tired.

It seems to me that people living in the city love colourful lights. Shops, cafes, large signs flood Hong Kong‘s streets. The exposures are as bright as if they were daylight. Even the sky is never really dark at night. As a result, many people suffer from sleep problems .......

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First I thought that the bright lights don‘t affect me at all. I usually sleep with my curtains closed, but when I fell asleep with them open the other day – I realized I wasn’t as immune as I thought. In the middle of the night, my neighbour turned on his lights eventually waking me up. “

My home town, Hong Kong‘s night sky has been proven to be one of the brightest in the world and this is not without consequences. Light pollution has an impact not only on flora and fauna but also on Hong Kong residents, especially on their sleep quality and well-being. Artificial light in the evening hours influences our internal clock, which in turn regulates organic processes such as hormone production and cell regulation. A disturbance of the day-night rhythm is associated with various physiological and psychological disorders, including depression, insomnia and cardiovascular diseases.

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