Clap On, Clap Off

We all know that turning out your lights is both fiscally and environmentally responsible -- if you're not using them, why have them on? Saves you money and cuts down on emissions, right? Okay, this is a great idea on an individual level. I even think we should have a national "no power day" to promote energy conservation (remember how much fun the blackout was a few years ago? Why not plan for it?). But I can't help but think this idea isn't nearly as good as it sounds.

The author of this article advocates reduction of streetlight use in urban areas, citing the fact that it's our fundamental human right to see the stars, and also mentioning that powering streetlights produces five hundred thousand tonnes of carbon emissions every year. Right, that's never a good thing, I agree.

But are streetlights really that big a problem in the grand scheme? I mean, I'm all for reducing emissions, but has anybody thought of the safety implications of cutting back on lighting up the night? When the blackout happened a few years back I was working at a retail shop, and the minute the lights went out, fully half the people in the store grabbed merchandise and booked it. I don't really like what that says about people, and it makes me worry about the prospect of poor lighting in our streets at night, especially as a smaller-framed woman.

Also, 500,000 tonnes of emissions sounds like a lot (and it is) but there are other elements that produce WAY more pollutants every year (cars anyone?)...why would we risk the safety of our population in order to curb a relatively small portion of the problem?

I don't know about you, but when you stack up Clean Air versus Possible Rape, the risk just isn't worth it to me. Let me know what you think about this.

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