NYC Dims Lights to Save Birds
New York is planning on dimming the city in effort to prevent migrating birds from crashing into buildings. Birds migrating north for the summer are confusing city lights with constellations and crashing into buildings in a phenomenon known as “fatal light attraction”. The birds are flying past New York City through the Arctic Flyway route from the south into Canada. This lights out initiative involved government buildings’ lights being turned off from 11p.m. to dawn during migration seasons. This will stop attracting birds such as warblers, thrushes, and sparrows so they can fly safely. Fatal light attraction is a huge environmental problem because stronger birds are just as attracted by the lights as weaker birds and kill as much as one billion in the US every year. Last year there were strikes protesting the lack of protection for birds. This year, bird-lovers and activists are speaking out against a stadium in Minnesota for not using a specially patterned glass that reduce birds’ confusion. While progress is being made on a legal level, it is only the government buildings that are taking part.
The article focuses on the progress being made to solve this environmental issue, but the fact is that dimming lights in only the government buildings is not going to solve this problem. Unintentionally confusing wildlife and disrupting their natural instincts is endangering bird populations and therefore entire ecosystems along the east coast. The city government has the right idea turning off unnecessary lights. However, the problem is not just the government buildings. The city should enforce a law to have all business turn off unnecessary lights between dusk and dawn. Not only would this save thousands of birds each year, it would save electricity. This would also be good for the environment because most of the electricity in the US comes from burning coal and fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gases. Raising awareness for the birds of New York is the best we can do to try and gather support for dimming the city. Strikes and activism in the past year mentioned in the article have brought the issue this far, but more needs to be done.
How could businesses and residents in New York City be enticed to dim their lights during migratory seasons?
"New York State to Dim Lights to save Migrating Birds - BBC News." BBC News. BBC, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 4 May 2015.