Scientists are beginning to suspect that artificial light can be lethal for plants and animals. Studies show it can disrupt the natural biological patterns of the human body that regulate sleep, body temperature and other functions. However, little research has been done on how the widespread electrification of the past century has affected the plant, animal and insect worlds.
Travis Longcore, who runs a Los Angeles-based conservation think tank, says, ?All of the things we do for nature preservation are necessary, but they might not be sufficient if we don?t address this.?
Along the Atlantic seaboard, scientists have discovered that newly hatched loggerhead turtles can die when lured inland by artificial light that confuses their instinct to follow the moon?s glow to the safety of the ocean.
In Texas, a coalition of environmental groups sued the U.S. government, charging that bright lights used to deter illegal immigration across the border from Mexico have disrupted the habitat of the ocelot, a small wild cat that is active at night.
There is little awareness of any problems among lighting industry groups. Larry French, of the lighting design firm Auerbach + Glasow, says, ?As lighting designers, the impact of artificial light on the environment is something we do care about, but its impact specifically on animal life is something that is not in the mix.?
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