Night Earth

Arvada, Colorado, United States

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Arvada is a vibrant city located in Jefferson and Adams counties in Colorado, United States. As of 2021, the city had a population of over 120,000 people, with a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds. Arvada is known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and unique landmarks that draw tourists and residents alike. However, as with many other cities in the United States, Arvada faces a growing problem of light pollution, which has significant impacts on the environment, wildlife, and human health.

Light pollution is defined as the excessive or inappropriate use of artificial light at night, leading to adverse effects on the environment, ecosystems, and human health. The primary source of light pollution in Arvada is street lighting, commercial lighting, and residential lighting. The city has several iconic landmarks that are lit up at night, such as the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Olde Town Arvada, and the Apex Center. While these landmarks contribute to the city's unique character and draw visitors to the area, they also contribute to the overall light pollution of the city.

The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is a world-renowned cultural hub that features a theater, art galleries, and sculpture gardens. At night, the center's buildings and grounds are illuminated with brightly colored lights that add to the visual appeal of the area. Similarly, Olde Town Arvada is a historic district that features a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. The area is lit up at night with vintage-style streetlights and decorative string lights that create a festive atmosphere. The Apex Center is a popular recreation center that features indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, and a variety of fitness classes. The building and surrounding grounds are illuminated with bright lights to provide a safe and welcoming environment for visitors.

Despite the benefits of these illuminated landmarks, the excessive use of artificial lighting in Arvada has significant impacts on the environment and wildlife. Light pollution disrupts the natural cycles of many species and can have negative effects on their breeding, feeding, and migration patterns. It also contributes to the overall degradation of the natural environment by obscuring the view of the night sky and increasing the amount of energy consumption. In addition, light pollution has been linked to several health problems in humans, including disruptions to circadian rhythms, sleep disorders, and increased risk of certain cancers.

To address the issue of light pollution, the City of Arvada has implemented several measures to reduce the amount of light emitted by streetlights, commercial buildings, and residential homes. The city has installed shields on streetlights to prevent light from shining upwards, and has implemented a voluntary program for residents to switch to more efficient outdoor lighting fixtures. The city has also worked with local businesses to promote energy-efficient lighting practices and reduce the amount of light emitted during non-business hours.

Despite these efforts, Arvada still experiences a significant amount of light pollution. According to the International Dark-Sky Association, Arvada has a Sky Quality Meter (SQM) reading of 19.8, which indicates severe light pollution. The organization recommends a reading of 21 or higher for optimal dark sky conditions.

Arvada is a vibrant and growing city that faces significant challenges related to light pollution. While the city has implemented several measures to reduce the amount of artificial light emitted at night, there is still much work to be done to promote energy-efficient and environmentally friendly lighting practices. As the city continues to grow and expand, it is important to consider the impacts of light pollution on the natural environment, wildlife, and human health and take action to mitigate these effects.