Light Pollution - The Disappearing Darkness | DocFilm | DW | 17.06.2016
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Light Pollution - The Disappearing Darkness

Nights have begun to resemble days - in terms of light. In our modern times much of the world is illuminated almost 24 hours as day. But overexposure to artificial light can have negative effects on humans and animals.

15.06.2016 DW Doku Verlust der Nacht 2

A patient in intensive care under a light blanket in Berlin’s Charité hospital

Things are getting ever brighter on Earth. Satellite images taken at night reveal a radiant sea of ​​light that extends almost around the globe. Since the invention of the electric light bulb, light has been associated with prosperity and progress - but too much of it can make you sick. Scientists are already warning of the dangers.

15.06.2016 DW Doku Verlust der Nacht 3

Light pollution in Europe

Disrupted circadian rhythm
Every night, street lamps that spread light in all directions cause billions of insects to perish. Artificial light can also cause migratory birds to lose their sense of orientation and rob humans of a restful night’s sleep. For millions of years, we lived according to a circadian rhythm. Days were reserved to activity, nights for rest and rejuvenation. But cities and mega-cities around the world are becoming increasingly brighter. In commercial districts, video screens and electronic billboards flash and blink into the wee hours at would-be customers, who should actually be sleeping.

15.06.2016 DW Doku Verlust der Nacht 1

Artificial light turns the Hong Kong night into day

Lighting technology of the future
Researchers around the globe are looking into ways of reducing the flood of light to a level that might be considered healthy. Physicists, biologists, physicians and engineers are all working to develop the lighting systems of the future – systems that don’t waste energy or uselessly illuminate the night sky, that don’t kill insects or disrupt sleep. The goal isn’t to leave cities in the dark, but to allow them to shine bright more sustainably and intelligently.

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