I’ve grown up in Westchester, NY and only really know New York. I grew up in a town called Yonkers located in Westchester, NY where I was only about a 20 minute train ride into NYC. Now, I live in a town called New Rochelle also located in Westchester, NY and it’s about a 50 minute train ride into NYC. No matter where I go, New York will forever be a major part of my life and identity and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

You have to live in New York to truly understand the power and impact that New York has. The motivation. The grind. The unwavering desire and determination to do big things and never stop moving. It’s exhilarating. 

I have one of those scratch off maps in my room where I’ve scratched off every state I’ve visited in the US. I’ve visited quite a few states and a few countries outside of the US, but the majority of my 22 years of life have been spent in New York. 

When I was younger, I remember long summer nights and staring up at the stars. I can close my eyes and picture those moments so vividly. The sun has just set. The air is hot and humid, but a cool breeze sweeps through every once in a while. I can smell fresh cut grass and popsicle residue on my hands and clothes (sorry mom). I can hear the other kids on my block laughing and screaming; the tv in my house blaring the news. I can faintly smell dinner cooking on the stove and my dad’s leather briefcase as he passes me patting my head to go into the house as he comes home from work. I can feel my body move as I crane my neck to look up at the stars and collapse into the grass to get more comfortable.

Now, we don’t see those stars anymore and I miss them. 

silhouette photo of two person watching stars

If there is ever a particularly happy or memorable moment in my life, I often find myself trying to capture a mental image to make the memory and feeling last longer. With this memory and feeling, I don’t have to try. It’s something I’ll never lose… or will I?

Let’s talk about the NY stars

Why do I no longer look up and admire them? Quite simply, they’re still there, we just can’t see them as well anymore because of the light pollution we’ve created. The excessive artificial light that we’ve created has become so great as to diminish the beauty of our stars and so much more. 

There are many studies out there that say artificial light messes with our natural orientation and processes. The American Medical Association reports that light pollution contributes to impaired daytime functioning, obesity, anxiety, and poor sleep quality. Studies show that street lamps and artificial light sources can stunt the growth and flowering of plants, which disrupts food chains at their source.

street light near high rise buildings during night time

What’s troubling about this is that even many major cities and their lighting engineers do not know about the dangers of white LEDs. Did you know about it before reading this article? If you did, I’m really proud of you because statistics show that only 1% of people are aware of light pollution. I sure as heck didn’t know this before looking further into it! 

How can you help

You can help by being the best human you can possibly be. 

Did you know that there is a thing called dark sky lighting? Dark sky lighting is lighting (i.e. light bulbs/ lamps, etc.) specifically made so that the light is directed down instead of up, which helps reduce light pollution and protect our stars. Another aspect or kind of dark sky lighting is amber tinted light bulbs instead of white, blue or green. Amber lighting is no brighter than necessary, which again helps reduce light pollution! 

If you are feeling empowered, channel that feeling by emailing/writing your town/city about the solution to light pollution and becoming a member and supporting the International Dark-Sky Association

There are other options to help too! Turn the light off when you leave the room, even if you’re going to be back in 2 minutes. Maybe don’t leave the garage door light on all night. Unplug your lamps when you’re not using them. Don’t be wasteful; be thoughtful! Helping the planet doesn’t have to be a ‘huge call to action.’ The little things add up!