Eco-friendly Consumer Product Information
- There are numerous eco-friendly consumer products available. One source for reference is the Government of Canada Eco-Logo Program:
How can you promote our efforts to help keep phosphorus levels under control in Christie Lake? There are many things that we, as a community, can do to help prevent phosphorus levels from becoming too high in the lake. Namely, we can buy phosphate free laundry and dish detergents since the main source of phosphorus in lakes is from grey water runoff. For example laundry and sinks should be drained to septic systems. Septic systems should be maintained (pumped every 3-5 years). Shoreline plants will also remove some excess nutrients from run-of and ground water.
Fertilizers used to maintain lawns can contain harmful phosphates that, with rain and run off, can leach into the lake. Therefore, we would encourage you to either 1) not use a fertilizer or 2) use one that is phosphate free and is intended for use on lawns that are close to waterways. Look for this symbol when buying phosphate free products.
Eco-friendly Environmental Information
Light Pollution – Dark-Skies
The Dark Sky Places Program was started by the International Dark-Skies Association in 2001 to encourage communities around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education. Visit http://darksky.org/idsp/ for more information.
- Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife and Ecosystems
Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark rhythm to govern life-sustaining behaviors such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.
Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants.
- Artificial Lights Disrupt the World’s Ecosystems
o Nocturnal animals sleep during the day and are active at night. Light pollution radically alters their nighttime environment by turning night into day.
o According to research scientist Christopher Kyba, for nocturnal animals, “the introduction of artificial light probably represents the most drastic change human beings have made to their environment”.
o “Predators use light to hunt, and prey species use darkness as cover,” Kyba explains “Near cities, cloudy skies are now hundreds, or even thousands of times brighter than they were 200 years ago. We are only beginning to learn what a drastic effect this has had on nocturnal ecology.”
o Glare from artificial lights can also impact wetland habitats that are home to amphibians such as frogs and toads, whose nighttime croaking is part of the breeding ritual. Artificial lights disrupt this nocturnal activity, interfering with reproduction and reducing populations.
- Artificial Lights have Devastating Effects on Many Bird Species
o Birds that migrate or hunt at night navigate by moonlight and starlight. Artificial light can cause them to wander off course and toward the dangerous nighttime landscapes of cities. Every year millions of birds die colliding with needlessly illuminated buildings and towers. Migratory birds depend on cues from properly timed seasonal schedules. Artificial lights can cause them to migrate too early or too late and miss ideal climate conditions for nesting, foraging and other behaviors.
- Ecosystems: Everything is Connected
o Many insects are drawn to light, but artificial lights can create a fatal attraction. Declining insect populations negatively impact all species that rely on insects for food or pollination. Some predators exploit this attraction to their advantage, affecting food webs in unanticipated ways.
- Exposure to Artificial Light at Night Can Harm Your Health
Humans evolved to the rhythms of the natural light-dark cycle of day and night. The spread of artificial lighting means most of us no longer experience truly dark nights. Research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, breast cancer and more.
- Circadian Rhythm and Melatonin
o Like most life on Earth, humans adhere to a circadian rhythm — our biological clock — a sleep-wake pattern governed by the day-night cycle. Artificial light at night can disrupt that cycle.
o Our bodies produce the hormone melatonin in response to circadian rhythm. Melatonin helps keep us healthy. It has antioxidant properties, induces sleep, boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, and helps the functioning of the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes and adrenal glands. Nighttime exposure to artificial light suppresses melatonin production.
- Not All Artificial Light Is Created Equally
o Exposure to blue light at night is particularly harmful. Unfortunately, most LEDs used for outdoor lighting — as well as computer screens, TVs, and other electronic displays — create abundant blue light.
o According to experts at Harvard Medical School, “If blue light does have adverse health effects, then environmental concerns, and the quest for energy-efficient lighting, could be at odds with personal health. Those curlicue compact fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights are much more energy-efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs we grew up with. But they also tend to produce more blue light.”
o A 2016 American Medical Association report expressed concern about exposure to blue light from outdoor lighting and recommends shielding all light fixtures and only using lighting with 3000K color temperature and below.
o To minimize harm from blue light in your home, choose the right light bulb and download a color temperature app that adapts your electronic screen to the time of day – cool light during the day and warm light at night.
- Choosing the Right Bulb
o In the picture on the left, the bulb on the left is rich in high-color temperature blue light, while the one on the right isn’t.o Be sure to look at the packaging. All packaging for new CFL and LED light bulbs provide color temperature information. Use low color temperature light sources for interior and exterior light. Their light is less harsh and less harmful to human health and the environment.
o Look for warm white sources with a color temperature of 3500K or lower.
- Kelvin Temperature Scale
o The Kelvin temperature chart below shows you what the numbers mean. Higher color temperatures mean bluer light, the kind that should be avoided after dusk.