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Why Cities Should Appreciate Night Darkness

Cities have been put on lockdown as the coronavirus epidemic spreads throughout the world, and residents have been advised to stay at home. Curfews have been implemented in a number of locations.

I went on countless night walks in my hometown of Manchester during the first UK lockdown in April. A number of things struck me. Birdsong dominated the unusual silence in the absence of traffic or trains. Without the typical pollutants, the air was clean and crisp. Even yet, the city’s artificial lights burned for no one at night.

Pollution is a significant issue, not just because of the wasted energy and money it represents. The light shines from the things we use and through the settings we occupy, and it is an often unwelcome aspect of our modern life.

Meanwhile, darkness appears to be unwelcome. How did we get to the point where if an urban scene isn’t well lit, it must be alarming, if not dangerous? We can read the inspirational darkness quotes to feel the power of darkness.

From the dark to the light

Western culture has been inextricably linked with concepts of illumination and darkness as symbols of good and evil since the Enlightenment. The search for truth, purity, knowledge, and wisdom means shining a light on everything. Darkness, on the other hand, was connected with barbarism, deviance, malevolence, and ignorance.

Changes in attitudes and beliefs toward the night, for example, were significant in creating views of darkness that have remained in Europe during the 16th and 18th centuries. New options for work and recreation arose as a result of societal changes, which, when combined with the development of artificial illumination and street lighting, recast the night as an extension of the day. Darkness was considered as something to be expelled by light, rather than something to be cherished. This was not necessarily shared by other civilizations. The Japanese poet Jun’ichir Tanizaki, for example, pointed out the absurdity of increasing amounts of light in his 1933 masterpiece In Praise of Shadows. Instead, he praised the subtle and nuanced parts of ordinary life that were fast vanishing as artificial light took over:

The progressive Westerner is continually striving to improve his situation. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light, his search for a brighter light never ends, and he goes to great lengths to eliminate even the tiniest shade.

Darkness is unwelcome in many city centers nowadays, since it is associated with illegal, immoral, and nasty behavior. However, a new study from engineering firm Arup suggests that some of these fears are unfounded. More study has revealed that cities require a better knowledge of light in order to combat inequality.

It may be utilized to encourage civic life and assist in the creation of dynamic, accessible, and comfortable urban environments for the many people who share them.

Meanwhile, ideas of light, clarity, cleanliness, and consistency in urban environments have spread across the global cultural experience, culminating in the universal disappearance of the night sky.

Light is expensive

This is not a minor problem. This is increasingly being referred to as a worldwide issue by scientists. According to the International Dark-Sky Association, there is a massive waste of energy and money — $3.3 billion in the US alone, and 21 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are released unnecessarily each year. The disastrous effects of over-illumination and light pollution on human health, other animals, and the planet’s ecosystems are of increased concern.

Exposure to artificial light at night disrupts people’s circadian rhythms, making individuals who work on-call, long hours, or shift work more susceptible to ailments including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal disorders. Night workers currently account for one in every nine employees in the United Kingdom, therefore this is a serious issue.

Electric lights cause millions of migratory birds to become disoriented, leading them to smash into buildings, whereas moonlight causes disorientation in migrating sea turtles and beetles.

We Have to Fight to See the Light When Facing Darkness


Soetimes, it seems as though we are engulfed in darkness. We are frustrated by the number of unanswered questions we have concerning this sickness. So many twists and turns often surprise us. We forget that before we can see or appreciate the light, we must first endure and fight the darkness.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own thoughts

We’ve convinced ourselves that in order to live happily ever after, we must constantly be galloping on a spotless white horse west into the flawless sunset. Parkinson’s illness, on the other hand, is unlikely to have the joyful conclusion that we’ve been trained to hope for (if lived to its full potential). As we gallop away, there won’t be a white stallion to ride. We’ll very certainly be pushed into a wheelchair and, if we’re fortunate, raced through the corridors of a nursing home by a compassionate, but amusing, nursing staff who, hopefully, has the foresight to strap us in first.

You may be experiencing grief as a result of the loss brought on by this sickness. The inability to do what you used to be able to accomplish because of a lack of freedom. As a result of this sickness, a loved one has died. Parkinson’s disease has taken away childhood ambition. The loss of something solid, real, and valuable – the loss of life as you knew it before Parkinson’s disease was discovered.

You could be in a state of denial or negotiating with God about the entire “scandal,” or you might be depressed or furious about your present situation. Perhaps acceptance is bringing you some relief. Accepting a new drug in the hopes of it performing better than the old one may be as simple as that. Maybe you’ve been granted permission to undergo deep brain stimulation and have chosen to go forward with it. Perhaps you’ve just purchased a new shirt that doesn’t need you to battle to button.

Don’t be afraid of the darkness that appears around you and others with this sickness, no matter where you are. Defend yourself. Expect to see the light if you go in motivated to win.