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I am writing a letter of concern about the amount of light pollution that the new Latter-day Saints Temple is bringing to the neighborhoods of Casper and the surrounding environment.
As a graduate student currently studying Casper and current issues, the bright artificial light at night is extremely concerning. The first time I saw the building lit up, I was shocked. I could see the light from my house five blocks away. I was saddened because the stars that I used to be able to see were no longer visible.
Both animals and humans are negatively impacted by light pollution. Artificial light at night has been shown to cause decreased levels of melatonin, which human bodies need to function. Low melatonin levels have been linked to increased risk of multiple cancers, heart disease, obesity, Type II diabetes, depression, fertility issues, tissue and cell damage due to lower levels of antioxidants, and decreased immune function.
The temple’s bright light will disrupt migratory bird patterns, nocturnal animal rhythms, amphibian breeding patterns, and decrease the populations of insects that different species need for food/pollination. Critically endangered species (e.g. bats) are more at risk because they depend on darkness for safety, food, and reproduction.
Light pollution is one of the largest negative impacts humans have caused on the environment. If the light affects animals and humans, it also affects plant life and ecosystem function. Plants, animals, and non-living factors work together to create an ecosystem. Living organisms, like humans, depend on ecosystem services to survive.
What would happen if pollination drastically decreased because of the bright lights, causing harmful insect levels to increase, and therefore flower and plant life were reduced? Many of Casper’s livelihoods depend on agriculture.
Example: If bat populations decreased, the insect populations they help control would increase (e.g. grasshoppers) which destroy crops.
The City of Casper wants to support development for its people and economy but has no code mitigating the amount of light pollution. The damage the unchecked light pollution will continue to cause is not worth it.
All information provided is obtained from multiple peer-reviewed articles.