Artificial lighting has transformed the outdoor nighttime environment over large areas, modifying natural cycles of light in terms of timing, wavelength, and distribution. This has had widespread benefits and costs to humankind, impacting on vehicle accidents, crime, energy consumption and carbon emissions, aesthetics, and wildlife and ecosystems. In addition the evidence of deleterious consequences for human health and wellbeing continues to accumulate.
Associated with increasingly urbanised lifestyles, the loss of naturally lit sky arguably contributes to the ‘extinction of experience’ or the disengagement of people from the natural environment, compounding efforts to engage the public on issues of environmental concern.
The key issue that emerges is how best to maximize the benefits of artificial nighttime lighting whilst limiting the costs. Ecolight aims to fill knowledge gaps to connect the research being conducted in different disciplines in order to enable firmer and well-developed links to be made between research, policy, and practice.