Lighting The Darkness Costs Us More Than You Think.


The photo is a stunning portrait of Earth, as the light sparkles like scattered jewels. The creation of a network of fine webs that glow like embers across the night sky. These lights are a beautiful sight to see. Lighting empty parking lots, near-empty office towers, streets, highways, and commercial parks. These are humans shining their equivocal lanterns of life.

The idea originated in the fourth century from the city of Antioch. This city used torches to guide night walkers through the darkness and kept robbers at bay. Still, we assume lights are necessary to keep us safe. Even though we’ve created revolutionary technology. We have cars to take us safely and security systems to keep us safer. Yet, people instinctively use the front porch light for peace of mind.



The population has increased and we’re lighting the night skies more than ever! Our antiquated systems are misdirected, inefficient and not necessary. For instance, we light up parking lots in the middle of the night for security reasons. Yet, there are night vision security systems that can properly scan the scene. Motion-activated sensors will light up any corridor, parking lot, or office space. The office towers have security measures such as card locks, elevator fobs, and concierge security. Yet the lights still remain on.

What do you do when you have money to burn? Most would rather buy anything other than a utility bill! The majority of burglars look for alarms and many of them won’t break into a house with signs of one present. The chances of an intruder burglarizing a home increases three hundred percent.

Burglaries also happen more often in the daytime than they do at night. The light signals someone may be home. Yet if there’s a Burglar who wants inside there is no light outside that will protect you. A “>home security system is in every family’s best interest and please turn off your lights before you go to bed… Lights give us a false sense of security.



In Vancouver alone over fifty thousand street lamps are lit yet we have headlights to guide our way. Large stretches of main Highways do not use street lights. Yet the main streets of cities and towns are lit up like a pumpkin till dawn.

Vancouver taxpayers pay  $6,530,000 a year to light up the darkness.  This expenditure is a fixed expense and if public funds are low we could see the sell-off of this public system. It happened in Toronto when out of desperation, the government sold its street lights in 2005. They sold their street lights to the Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors Association. So, for the next thirty years, they’re on the hook for a whopping 420 million dollars.

This works out to double what Vancouver pays on an annual basis. But Vancouver has 1/6th the land mass as Toronto so we generally will pay less. But, it’s easy to see how quickly our tax dollars are spent!



Moreover, Canadians produce eighty-one percent of Green House Gas Emissions  (GHG) from economic activity. We use gasoline for transportation and produce non-renewable electricity. This includes lighting, heating, and cooling buildings.

The good news? Over eighty percent of British Columbia’s electricity comes from non-GHG emitting sources. These sources come from Hydro dams, biomass, wind, and solar energy.

But, as of 2017, the majority of the world is still getting its energy from burning fossil fuels. Unfortunately, at this moment, we can’t change the world’s dependence on this type of fuel. What we can do is lead by example.


As of 2009 the Copenhagen accord composed guidelines for Canadians. Canada agreed to create a GHG emissions reduction plan to 30% below 2005 levels. The deadline? 2030! The mission is to keep the global temperature from rising less than two degrees Celsius. Can we do it?…

It won’t be easy. Between 2005 and 2018 over 5, 200, 000 Canadian babies were born. Canada is also a desirable place to live so 3, 700, 000 people have immigrated to Canada. For the sake of curiosity, I calculated the amount we’ve grown in thirteen years. I combined births and immigration and subtracting deaths. This totaled 2, 129, 363 more people since 2005!

We’re growing in number and our economy has also grown significantly! We’re on track for success! A study conducted by the Canadian Government found that even though we’ve grown the GHG output per GDP has declined by 16.4%. The implementation of new technology is the largest factor in this statistic. It’s wonderful to see our advancements do make a difference in creating a sustainable future. Canada is on track to help make an impact on the world’s temperatures.

Canadian Graph Of GHG Emissions

canadian carbon reduction from 2005-2015


However, there is always room for improvement! The Copenhagen accord is a good initiative, but it falls short in effectiveness. It’s based on cooperation from every developing country. Leaders won’t guarantee that countries are going to do their part so whole cities must lead by example in a dramatic way.

We need to find a middle ground where a solution could present itself. There are two easy ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Install motion detectors and turn the street lights off hours before dawn.  In conclusion, reduce light in our night sky and put money back into the taxpayer’s pockets.

Below is an email address dedicated to the City of Vancouver’s street light program. If you feel this is a good idea that should be talked about in City Hall too. Send them an email.


To whom it may concern,

As a concerned taxpayer, I am writing to tell city officials it`s time for a change. City officials must start analyzing our street lighting system. It is our responsibility to reduce Green House Gases. Limit street lighting between the time frame of 1 am and 5 am. Limit lighting used throughout the city during nonpeak hours. Turn off lights that are serving empty parking lots, streets, and public spaces. We`re using Fifty thousand street lights on Greater Vancouver Streets. Furthermore, we must look at ways to reduce their frequency and use. It`s time to start being creative with solutions for the sake of the future.




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