Earth Night 2024
On September 06, 2024 the time has come: the next Earth Night will take place.
People will reduce/turn off outdoor lights for a whole night (starting no later than 10 pm local time), taking a stand against the world’s increasing light pollution. Anyone can take part!
What is Earth Night?
Earth Night is an event where people try to reduce artificial outdoor light as much as possible one night a year. This promotion always takes place on the Friday in September that is closest to the night of the new moon. From 10 pm at the latest, it’s time to turn off the lights! For a whole night.
Lights out – for a whole night!
In contrast to Earth Hour (when the light is switched off/reduced every year on a March evening from 8.30 pm for one hour), Earth Night is about switching off the light for a whole night from 10 pm at the latest, or at least significantly to reduce.
In this way, Earth Night wants to draw attention to the problem of steadily increasing light pollution caused by the unrestrained consumption of artificial light by us humans. As all the light makes our nights brighter and lighter and thus demonstrably harms the environment, people and nature.
Light that shines senselessly and is misdirected is a pure waste of energy and is harmful to the climate. That is known. It is hardly known what else this light can do: It dims the starry sky and makes sleep less restful. It irritates plants and misdirects birds on their migration routes. It kills hundreds of billions of insects in the summer, which we and nature then lack as pollinators and most animals as a main source of food. Whole ecosystems get out of step because of the amount of light at the wrong time.
So it’s time to use Earth Night to draw attention to the problem of too much artificial light at night and the resulting steadily increasing brightening of the sky. It’s high time to raise awareness and bring about a more conscious use of light as a resource in our permanently light society. Especially because there are still almost no laws to curb light pollution. Politicians have done far too little here so far. There is hardly anything that can be used to achieve sustainable environmental protection as quickly, easily and simply as through a changed, i.e. more responsible use of light. In view of the climate crisis, this is more than necessary.
Earth Night was launched in the summer of 2020 and premiered on September 17, 2020. The campaign is an initiative of „Godparents of the Night“ – a Germany-based, non-profit organization that works in Germany and Austria to protect the night and curb light pollution through educational work. The sponsors of the night are now supported by almost 100 official supporters whom the organization was able to recruit for the campaign.
Lights off! For a whole night.
The Earth Night is supposed to give the world an almost naturally dark night once a year. So that all living beings on this planet can experience a clear light/dark change at least once a year because life has been programmed by them for millions of years. It is even essential for maintaining health. The Earth Night is intended to be a regular reminder of how wasteful and thoughtless we are with artificial light and the great steps we are taking towards losing the night. The Earth Night is intended to create awareness of how necessary nature, humans and all other living beings need a dark night. It should make it possible to experience that life is also possible with significantly less artificial light and that the darkness of the night has an immense value that we have overshadowed, almost forgotten, due to sheer over-illumination.
Join in at least once a year so that:
- A naturally dark night and the associated magic can be experienced
- Everyone can see a beautiful starry sky directly above their house
- Many millions of insects and thus pollinators are saved from death that night
- People and all diurnal creatures can sleep more restfully
- Countless nocturnal animals can get on with their actual tasks
- Energy and CO₂ can be saved in the easiest way
- We realise that we can (or could) get by with much less artificial light
The good news
Anyone can join Earth Night!
Outside light off
Switch off (or at least partially switch off) all light sources that are not essential for safety. For example, shop window / advertising lighting as well as door, house, object, facade and garden lighting.
Nobody has to sit at home in the dark during Earth Night because it is enough to simply close the blinds, roller blinds or curtains on the windows. This is how the night becomes darker.
And then enjoy
Go outside, enjoy the starry sky and the magic of this one very special night, which is as nature intended: naturally dark. And maybe it will become clear that you would like to have such a night more often in the year and that one or the other light will no longer be switched on in the future ...
This is what municipalities/cities can do:
That is the lighting of carparks, statues, monuments or trees as well as the walls and/or facades of churches, bridges, palaces, offices, castles, tourist facilities or even schools.
Reduce/turn off street lights
This is possible in Germany, for example, because there is no general lighting requirement for public transport in the municipalities/cities in Germany. For the last Earth Night, for example, the municipalities of Bernau am Chiemsee (83233), Aschau im Chiemgau (83229) and Röthlein (09723) switched off all of their street lighting. Potential danger spots were secured with barges and signal/flashing lights. Feel free to inquire at these communities.
Turn Earth Night into an event. Let your place experience how nights looked like 150 years ago. Bring people together – with candles, torches, fire baskets, music and food.
Light should only shine towards the ground, where it is actually needed. Because of this, tilt light sources downwards or at least shield them in such a way that nothing is lost laterally and upwards towards the sky. It is best to use reflector lamps. Since 100% of the light only shines downwards here due to the design, you can screw in much weaker lamps with the same brightness as before. In addition, continuous light can be avoided by installing a motion detector. All of this saves energy and CO₂ and reduces light pollution.
Yellowish light sources (up to max. 2700 K colour temperature) are the most night-friendly. With the same brightness, they dazzle significantly less, attract fewer insects, affect sleep less and contribute less to the formation of light domes over built-up areas. However, please never forget: for the environment and nature, the light that isn't even switched on is best.
No, that shouldn’t be the goal! We humans need light at night. The aim should be that with every light source, in view of the knowledge about the possible harmful effects on the environment and nature, one asks oneself whether this is really necessary and absolutely essential. If this applies to the light source, then it should be designed to be as night-friendly as possible. As mentioned above: Yellow, no continuous light, no radiation to the side or upwards into the sky, not installed too high and the lowest possible power/brightness. All light sources that are not absolutely necessary, however, do not need to be installed and shine, above all those that illuminate natural areas (trees, hedges, meadows, bodies of water). Light does not belong on natural surfaces at night.
Raising awareness of light as a resource
We humans are still far too little aware that light is a resource. Just as naturally as we turn off the water tap after washing our hands, the stove after cooking or the living room light before going to bed, we should also naturally switch off our outdoor lighting at night. No church needs to still be lit up at 2 am at night. Likewise, no shop window and no billboard. And even where light is actually essential for safety reasons, nothing has to glow continuously, miss the target or be blindingly bright. Why do we bring up to 30 lux illuminance onto the street with modern LED street lamps when 1 lux would be sufficient in most cases? For comparison: the full moon creates 0.3 lux. Three times the full moon brightness, i.e. 1 lux, is sufficiently bright for every residential street.
Use the potential of the LED
A lot of light for very little money, easy to control and very flexible to use. This is what distinguishes LED lighting. But instead of using these properties for more environmentally friendly, night-friendly lighting, we humans go too far and install more and even brighter light that shines even longer because you can and because it doesn’t cost much to use. Overexposed nights are the result with all the resulting negative consequences. You’re proud of the fact that you need significantly less energy than with the old lighting technology, but much more energy could be saved with LED lighting if it were used more responsibly and in a more targeted manner. Reduce waste to zero. This would not only save a lot more money and relieve the climate, but also ensure extensive species protection.
Less light – more safety
Too many, too bright, too glaring LED streetlights dazzle road users. This achieves the opposite of what you actually want to achieve: namely more security. Weak, evenly distributed light that only shines downwards and is fully screened does not dazzle. This drastically increases security. There are fewer harsh contrasts. You see obstacles better and sooner, and you can see around you much better in the darker areas because you are not under a glaring cone of light that makes the surroundings invisible. The eye does not have to constantly get used to light/dark transitions while moving through traffic (which is all the more difficult the brighter and more pointed the light sources are). This also drastically increases security. And finally, it must be said very clearly: why do we light up roads when all users of the road are obliged to have their own light on the vehicle? Why don’t we just light up the pavements (if at all)? There is still a lot of educational work to be done on this topic. The Earth Night is intended to help and raise awareness.
Make it better all the time
Dates Earth Night
Always in September, always on Fridays, always at or near the new moon
Earth Night always occurs when it is naturally darkest, namely at the new moon or near the night of the new moon so that as many people as possible can enjoy and marvel at Earth Night and thus the beauty and magic of darkness (and then, if the weather is good, a breath-taking starry sky), we have decided from 2022 that Earth Night will always take place on Fridays. Nothing stands in the way of great Earth Night events.
This is Earth Night. Every Friday at or near the new moon in September. At the latest by 10 pm (CEST).
Earth Night took place for the first time on September 17, 2020. Namely in Germany and Austria.
The next dates for the Earth Night:
- Earth Night 2024 | 06 September
- Earth Night 2025 | 19 September
- Earth Night 2026 | 11 September
- Earth Night 2027 | 03 September
„What the microplastics are in our seas, lakes and soil, artificial light is in our atmosphere!“Godparents of the night (Paten der Nacht)