Why It’s So Bright at Night?

Why It's So Bright at Night?
Light Pollution News Podcast
Light Pollution News Podcast
Why It’s So Bright at Night?

Interview with Jennifer Huygen on the Fairlands Valley Park Petition.

Us humans are interesting creatures. We can hone our abilities, knowledge, critical thinking, and showcase the very best –flawlessly accomplishing mindboggling feats like completing a mission to land on a tiny asteroid!

On the flipside, we needlessly subject ourselves, and others, to the indignities of animal instinctualisms and tribalism.  

The topic of light pollution shouldn’t be polarizing. It shouldn’t be divisive.  ‘Why It’s So Bright at Night’ attempts to bring together all ends of our shared space in hopes that we may walk together with the common goal of creating a better tomorrow for all living things on this planet.

In order to do that, we need to have open conversations to understand each other and grow responsible solutions, particularly in this case, to balance nighttime preservation with the needs of society.

I first came across Jennifer Huygen while building out Light Pollution News’ February recording (A Space for Celebration). Huygen’s case presented a unique moment to test out this special podcast idea.

Huygen set up a petition for her local council to have them install lighting on a commonly used park path. The need for the light on the path can be debated from both a rational and perceived need perspective.

In this episode of ‘Why It’s So Bright at Night,’ Huygen puts forth her case regarding the request of addition of path lights, how she envisions a responsible approach to that end would be, and firmly asserts why she believes it’s needed.

Clearly, Huygen is not the only one to express such fears. The Stevenage case echo’s many similar voices around the world, often time leading to irresponsible use of light at night under the guise of “safety.” I challenge you to listen, learn, and create take aways that will help us both protect the night (night ecosystems, etc) and also solve a society need felt by many.

After the recording, Huygen reached out to me, concerned that she did not put forth her best discussion points. I obliged her request to include them as an addendum below.

Per Jennifer Huygen:

The percentage of girls and women that have to deal with harassment and sexual violence is simply absurd and unacceptable. I think we can all agree on that. In the UK, sexual harassment is a routine part of life for 71% of women and for 86% of 18-24 year old girls. Over 50% of girls and young women don’t feel safe outside alone, not during the day and even less at night. Women in the UK are three times more likely than men to feel unsafe at the park during the day and this is worse after dark.

Crimes against women make fear unavoidable and results in reduced accessibility of parks for women and girls. The solution lies not with women and girls addressing their fears, that would be victim blaming. The solution lies with mostly men and society. Until gender-based violence is not widespread anymore, the onus is on society to make helpful accommodations to make parks more accessible for women. Lighting is only part of the solution, and the report offers more insight as to what other changes can be made.

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