Are the original reasons for lighting streets still valid?

city lights at dawn

I recently found myself awake at 5:00 am, and wondered why the street lights were still on. It was light enough to see really well, and I noticed that the lights remained on till well after 6:30 am.

lights at dawn

The history of lighting streets goes back to the 4th century. At this time, lanterns were used to help people see in the absolute dark of night in order to get home, without which it would be near impossible to see at all.

Modern day, finds us with lights lit in our homes, street lights overhead, vehicles with lights at street level, and outdoor house lighting with motion sensors on many of the homes we may pass.

Nighttime sky-glow, in itself, now also seems to light the sky from above.

Such light pollution has become accepted as normal, yet we fail to consider turning off many of the lights we likely don’t need through the sheer volume of multiple light sources that light our way.


Our previous existence in pure darkness is no longer a threat to not being able to find a path home. Even the use of a flash light on an i-phone is a simple means to access a readily available light source.

Is it really still valid to consider the need for street lighting as so critical to ensure we may find our way home at night?

Perhaps it is time, we reconsider what has become habitual, and instead conserve the precious energy, which ultimately has started to pollute our skies.






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