Letter to the editor: Reduce light pollution to preserve Vermont’s fireflies
Do you remember fireflies from your childhood? Tiny flashing lights in the fields and woods, in the green grass? They were magical, and other-worldly. I thought they would always be here, part of summer. But they are endangered, because of us. The night skies are no longer dark, and the flashing lights come from the males, who are trying to attract females to mate. If there’s too much light, the fireflies’ lights become invisible and they cannot reproduce. Light pollution from signs, the piercing headlights of cars and trucks (blinding to all of us), lost habitat, and pesticides used in gardens and lawns compound the problem. Fireflies need moist tall grasses, and darkness.
We can help by turning off outside lights at night and using motion-detector lights instead. Close the shades or curtains inside at night, so the outside can remain dark. Join the Dark Skies movement — light pollution has increased 100% in the last 10 years, and we can help by keeping our portion of sky dark for the fireflies. We can see the glow of lights from Middlebury College and the town all night from Cornwall — is that necessary? Why?
Darkness is important, not only for fireflies, but birds, wildlife and humans. We all need that time of rest, for our eyes, sleep, and navigation for migrating birds. Birds use the North Star to navigate, and if the sky is too bright, they get confused and lost. Go outside tonight, and enjoy these fragile little creatures, knowing that we can help them to survive and thrive.
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