Reconstructing a society that cares for all creatures

Oct. 11, 2023
Migratory bird collisions are the latest instance highlighting the encroachment of the built environment upon the natural world. But it's human nature to seek solutions and continue to improve our impact.

Let me first state that I am not fond of the “Tragedy Olympics,” where varying reports or events are pitted against one another to compete for which one garners the most outraged public commentary, clicks, or other measures one might use to gauge the importance of a topic. I imagine amongst the tragic headlines regarding conflict in the Gaza Strip, many of us have missed some news regarding a high number of migratory bird deaths centralized around the McCormick Place Lakeside Center in Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, nearly 1,000 birds were killed after colliding with the building over the course of one autumn night. Unfortunately, this happens a lot more than I ever knew due to densely constructed cityscapes with highly reflective glass facades. Thinking of it even now, while working from home I often hear clinks against the windows due to bird activity. Though they may not collide with enough force to mortally wound, it's still concerning and I am seeking ways to prevent harm.

I recognize that malicious acts toward humankind are harrowing, and global citizens are deeply concerned about effects on their national security and personal safety. So perhaps some might view this environmental issue as less troubling. But in a world full of things we can’t control, one thing we can do – and should be doing – is a better job of respecting the natural world and other living beings. As much as humanity has shaped a built environment structured around its own needs, in some regards we seem to have lost touch with the impacts of building structures, energy infrastructure to support them, and amenities like outdoor area and municipal lighting that have affected the behavior and survival of other species.

We can build better with materials that reduce spatial confusion and bird collisions. We can save energy with renewable solutions that are also studied and designed to minimize wildlife collisions. We can improve our approaches to illuminating the human-centric environment so that it preserves the rest of the natural world. Everything matters in such a big world. If you receive our weekly News & Insights email, today we've included a focus on outdoor lighting and initiatives to minimize our impact on the environment and night skies. I've included some of those headlines below. Other related Endeavor Business Media content is linked throughout this blog.

*After today's newsletter went out, a very kind reader informed me that the American Bird Conservancy works to bring bird protections into city building ordinances regarding new and retrofit projects, among their other initiatives. I'm always glad to hear from you in our audience when a commentary or topic resonates with your personal interests. Please keep those notes coming!

More resources to consider for responsible outdoor lighting

A primer on the DLC's LUNA program

Dark sky association helps provide light-emission monitors

Researchers call for consistent measure of light pollution

CARRIE MEADOWS is editor-in-chief of LEDs Magazine, with 20-plus years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.

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