The photo is a stunning portrait of Earth, as the light sparkles like scattered jewels. The creation of a network of fine webs that glow like embers across the night sky. These street lights are a beautiful sight and create the street climate we know today. They’re lighting empty parking lots, near-empty office towers, streets, highways, and commercial parks. These are humans shining their equivocal lanterns of life.
The idea to create an after-dark street climate originated in the fourth century from the city of Antioch. This city used torches to guide nightwalkers through the darkness and kept robbers at bay. Still, we assume street lights are necessary to keep us safe. Even though we’ve created revolutionary technology. We have cars to take us safely and security systems to keep us safer. Yet, people instinctively use the front porch light for peace of mind.
Street Climate 2020
The population has increased and we’re lighting the night skies more than ever! Our antiquated street climate is misdirected, inefficient and not necessary. For instance, we light up parking lots in the middle of the night for security reasons. Yet, there are night vision security systems that can scan the scene. Motion-activated sensors will light up corridors, parking lots, or office spaces. Office towers have security measures such as card locks, elevator fobs, and concierge security. Yet street lights still remain on all night long.
What do you do when you have money to burn? Most would rather buy anything other than a utility bill! The majority of burglars look for alarms and many of them won’t break into a house with signs of one present. The chances of an intruder burglarizing a home increases three hundred percent.
Burglaries also happen more often in the daytime than they do at night. The light signals someone maybe home. Yet if there’s a Burglar who wants inside there is no light outside that will protect you. A “>home security system is in every family’s best interest and please turn off your lights before you go to bed… Lights give us a false sense of security.
The cost to taxpayers
In Vancouver alone over fifty thousand street lamps are lit yet we have headlights to guide our way. Large stretches of main Highways do not use street lights. Yet the main streets of cities and towns are lit up like a pumpkin till dawn. We’ve created a street climate which burns taxpayers dollars throughout the night.
Vancouver taxpayers pay $6,530,000 to burn street lights each year. This expenditure is a fixed expense and if public funds are low we could see the sell-off of this public system. It happened in Toronto when out of desperation, the government sold its street lights in 2005. They sold their street lights to the Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors Association. So, for the next thirty years, they’re on the hook for a whopping 420 million dollars.
This works out to double what Vancouver pays on an annual basis. But Vancouver has 1/6th the landmass as Toronto so we generally will pay less. But, it’s easy to see how quickly our tax dollars are spent!
The cost to our planet’s climate
Moreover, Canadians produce eighty-one percent of Green House Gas Emissions (GHG) from economic activity. We use gasoline for transportation and produce non-renewable electricity. This includes lighting buildings and street lights.
The good news? Over eighty percent of British Columbia’s electricity comes from non-GHG emitting sources. These sources come from Hydro dams, biomass, wind, and solar energy.
However, as of 2017, the majority of the world is still getting its energy from burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately, at this moment, the world’s dependence on fossil fuels is causing CO2 levels to skyrocket! Even though countries are having trouble transitioning away from fossil fuels. Cities can change the amount we depend on them by turning off street lights.
A plan to offset emissions
As of 2009 the Copenhagen accord composed guidelines for Canadians. Canada agreed to create a GHG emissions reduction plan to 30% below 2005 levels. The deadline? 2030! The mission is to keep the global temperature from rising less than two degrees Celsius. Can we do it?…
It won’t be easy. Between 2005 and 2018 over 5, 200, 000 Canadian babies were born. Canada is also a desirable place to live. Therefore, many people from around the world want to live here. In fact 700, 000 people have immigrated to Canada in 2019. For the sake of curiosity, I calculated the amount we’ve grown in thirteen years. I combined births and immigration and subtracted deaths. This number totalled 2, 129, 363 more people since 2005. Our population will most likely continue to rise. We are a stable country with resources and wide open spaces.
We’re growing in number and our economy has also grown significantly! A study conducted by the Canadian Government found that even though we’ve grown the GHG output per GDP has declined by 16.4%.
The implementation of new technology is the largest factor in this statistic. It’s wonderful to see that advancements have made a difference in creating a sustainable future. Canada is on track to help make an impact on the world’s temperatures.
Canadian Graph Of GHG Emissions
However, there is always room for improvement! The Copenhagen accord is a good initiative, but it falls short in effectiveness. It’s based on cooperation from every developing country. Leaders won’t guarantee that countries are going to do their part.
Therefore, cities must reduce consumption and reliance on energy in a different way. The biggest way for any city to contribute is by turning off useless street lights. In conclusion, reduce the light from the street lights and put money back into the taxpayer’s pockets.
Researchers have found that the city of Tucson had developed smart lighting technology. The city adjusts the illumination of the street light depending on the time of night. When dusk starts the lights are turned on up to 90%. Once midnight scones around they’re reduced down to 60%.
Check out the email address below which is dedicated to the City of Vancouver’s street light program. If you also believe this is a good idea please feel free to send them an email in support. firstname.lastname@example.org
To whom it may concern,
As a concerned taxpayer, I am writing to tell city officials it`s time for a change. City officials should analyze the street light systems further. It is our responsibility as concerned taxpayers to reduce Green House Gases. Moreover, by limiting the use of street lights between the time frame of 1 am and 5 am will make a difference. Also, the city should limit the lighting used throughout the city during nonpeak hours. Turn off lights that are serving empty parking lots, streets, and public spaces. We`re currently using Fifty thousand street lights on Greater Vancouver Streets. Therefore, the consumption and frequency of these street lights are very high. We must take action and reduce reliance for the sake of the future.