I’d planned to blog about vegetables, since last weekend we went to a rather nice exhibition about vegetables at nearby Bétête, but I’ll save that for another post as I’ve just discovered that tomorrow night, October 10th, is the 7th Jour de la Nuit – Day of the Night – in France.
However, a quick veggie pic to whet your appetites!
So what’s that then? It’s designed to raise public awareness about light pollution. Over the last 10 years the amount of night-time lighting has increased by 30%. There are now around 11 million lights on during a French night, and many of these are badly positioned and pour unnecessary light out into the night sky. Tomorrow night the lights will be turned off in many urban places so that people can get a glimpse of the stars and the moon.
Here at Les Fragnes we’re wonderfully dark at night, although there are a few lights dotted around and a cluster of streetlights burn brightly in Vijon a few hillsides away, which has a tiny, elderly population so it does seem rather pointless to have it all lit up until late at night. Maybe they’ll be turning theirs off for the evening. But we’re lucky in that we can see the night sky in its glory. Many of our angling clients remark on how amazed they are to see such bright stars and even get to see the Milky Way. They bemoan the fact they just can’t see the sky properly back home.
Not only is too much light affecting people’s view of the sky, but it’s affecting wildlife too. Certain species of insects that are drawn to the light are becoming endangered as they get caught around the lights by predators or manage to kill themselves flying into them. Migratory birds can be confused the lighting and be temporarily blinded by it and hit obstacles. Bats are deserting cities. And, of course, all that pointless surplus lighting is burning valuable fossil fuels and contributing to climate change.
It seems like a great idea to have a day, or more specifically a night, to bring this often overlooked problem of light pollution to the fore. There are a lot of activities planned in France, although absolutely none at all in the whole of Creuse – no surprise there! I hope they prove to be very popular and have the desired result. Maybe there’ll be a few fewer lights burning every night after tomorrow’s event.
The website has a great photo of night-time France and lots of advice on how we can all reduce our own contributions to the light pollution problem here.