Light Pollution and Earth Hour 2012

Toronto, Canada (March 30, 2012) – The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada promotes Earth Hour as it fits naturally with the Society’s message of preserving the nocturnal environment. Light pollution permeates the nocturnal environment and has a direct effect on the night sky - reducing the visibility of stars for young and old.

Moreover, light pollution is the essence of waste. It is produced by outdoor light fixtures designed before its adverse effects were not understood and energy was cheap. Light pollution can be reduced with a policy of shielded fixtures that produce less glare and light trespass, and with simple fixes that don't alter our visibility at night.

We are learning that light pollution is not merely a concern for astronomers and stargazers. Scientists are discovering that this wasted light also affects flora and fauna - often with adverse consequences. For example, illumination from high-rise buildings and communication towers reduce bird populations. The white light attracts insects that carry infectious diseases.

Human health researchers have found that artificial light at night disrupts our circadian system that helps us resist cancer, infection and disease. The World Health Organization, has reacted, and in a precautionary move, listed "light at night" as a probable carcinogen.

The RASC encourages all Canadians to join in the spirit of Earth Hour. We will be sponsoring many local activities in major cities across Canada. We also reach out and encourage individual efforts. A Fredericton car dealer 'Jim Gilbert's Wheels and Deals’ is one such example.  They responded to our appeal and plan on joining in by turning off their dealership lighting for the March 31 event. We encourage other businesses to do the same, and ask local astronomers to show off the stars during Earth Hour.

Founded in 1868, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is Canada's leading astronomy organization bringing together 4,000+ enthusiastic amateurs, educators and professionals. RASC and its 29 Centres across Canada offer both national and local programming and services. The RASC’s vision is to inspire curiosity in all Canadians about the universe, to share scientific knowledge, and to foster collaboration in astronomical pursuits.


For more information contact: Deborah Thompson, RASC Executive Director

888-924-7272 or

eNews date: 
Friday, March 30, 2012