THINK LIGHT: What is light worth?

Blogging for me can be a bit like extended traveling. I pick a destination, plan a route, and usually arrive there more or less when intended. But the longer the trip, the more unpredictable it becomes, peppered with side trips and new discoveries.

In other words, I did not plan this post. But sometimes my mind wanders.


I have written in other posts about our ancestors worship of light, or personification of light in deity form, so I won’t repeat myself. The summary is easy – our predecessors oriented their lives around light, the rising and setting of the sun, the phases of the moon, or fire. Entire civilizations were based on orientation to the sun, moon, or stars, with the most enduring structures aligned with celestial bodies. In other words, we knew light was very important.


I was a little shocked when I read that our obsession with hunting whales in the 1800’s was driven by the cleaner, brighter light emitted from burning whale fat. Light was literally worth killing for, over and over again. Sadly, this near-extinction was not the last environmental disaster to which light contributed.


Okay, my grammar is not that great, but you get the idea. Electric light brought about the need to generate electricity, usually by burning coal, so you could say that we have flattened mountains, disturbed the animal kingdom, dirtied our rivers, and polluted the atmosphere in the pursuit of cheap, bright light. Nuclear power plants exist, in some part, to power our lights. Greener methods of electricity are subject to political debate and require major infrastructure work and manufacturing, so we are nowhere near the end of polluting for light.


I am not advocating for a return to worshipping light, but I would not mind our society giving light a little more respect. I do not need everyone to respect lighting designers, or even know we exist, but it would be nice if we could stop putting disk lights in kitchens, brass-and-glass lanterns on garages, and drop-lens cobra-heads on parking lots. It would be great if we could stop ignoring light trespass, reduce light pollution, and share electric light that supports our wellbeing while minimizing environmental destruction.

I think light is worth a little more consideration, because I think all of humanity and our planet are worth a little more consideration.

Perhaps I should flip the order of priorities. I think all of humanity and our planet are worth a little more consideration. Therefore, I think light is worth a little more consideration.

Read more of my THINK LIGHT posts HERE.

Light Can Help You