Review - "Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting"

What I expected: A dry account of scientific literature on the title's namesake.

What I got: Way more than that.

Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting, edited by Catherine Rich and Travis Longcore, is one of the most readable, yet thorough, summaries of a specific topic within science writing that I have read to date. Beyond paraphrased accounts of the drastically-underappreciated scientific studies examining the ecological consequences of artificial night lighting, each section of the book begins with a brief account of a relevant naturalist's anecdotal experiences observing organisms in their nocturnal environment and ends with a succinct, meaningful conclusion as to where we should go from now.

It should be obvious to anyone who has lived within 50 miles of a modern urbanized human society (that means you!) that urban glow lights up the sky unnaturally. ECoANL cites a paper by Cinzano et al. (2001) which calculated "18.7% of the terrestrial surface of the Earth experiences night sky brightness that is polluted by astronomical standards." This impressive figure continues to include 61.8% of the United States and 85.3% of the European Union.

The impact of turning our planet into a giant night light is startling.

Topics included in ECoANL: Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians (the reason why I picked it up in the first place), Fishes, Invertebrates, and Plants

On top of being a beautiful literature synthesis (at a good price), the main editors suggest reasonable and practical solutions to understanding and reducing the impact of artificial night lighting.

Overall: 5/5 - A model novel in the scientific writing community


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