Working toward legislation to curb light pollution in Illinois.

Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting

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Current News From Our Coalition

Visit us at Facebook!Here's a place to keep up to date with our group's activities, and news which we'd like to share with the entire community of citizens who are concerned about our environment and the role which manmade light plays in it. Check back often for updates, and follow us on Facebook for a more steady stream, where we share news related to "light pollution" as it comes in.

The Latest Stories:          

February 9, 2015

Our Drew Carhart gave a presentation about light pollution to the folks gathered at Green Drinks Libertyville.

December 30, 2015

In an interview, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said light pollution is "in our portfolio" and that the agency is "thinking about it." This is the first time that the agency has recognized "light pollution" as something affecting the environment that they are there to protect.

October 1, 2015

Board member Drew Carhart speaks to the members of the Yorkville Garden Club about light-at-night issues.

July 7, 2015

Our Drew Carhart gave a presentation about the problems with manmade light at night to the astronomers at the Naperville Astronomical Association.

May 4, 2015

A student's video about light pollution in Chicago. (ICROL makes a brief appearance...)

April 15, 2015

Our Drew Carhart did a half-hour podcast interview on The Plural of You about the effort to raise awareness about light pollution and light at night issues. Have a listen!

Urban Lighting, Light Pollution and Society

February 6, 2015

We highly recommend this fine new book, which presents an unprecedented overview of the stories of how we light our cities, and how light pollution can be curtailed. Must reading!

January 23, 2015

Our Drew Carhart spoke to the Lombard Garden Club about the issues surrounding how we use light at night in our society.

December 30, 2014

Why does Chicago shine nine times more light up into the sky, per person of population, than Berlin? Perhaps the German people don't make that assumption that "just add more light" is the solution to any problems.

July 14, 2014

We're happy to report that the Village of Campton Hills has adopted its first outdoor lighting ordinance, which will help keep light where it belongs there. And we're happy to have been a part in the long process!

June 8, 2014

Team member Drew Carhart was interviewed on the Mike Nowak (radio) Show, regarding the City of Chicago's request for proposals to use "exciting" lighting to make the City more attractive to tourists. (Apparently, tourists who do not think the City already features enough light pollution.) Podcast of the program is available here (look for the June 8, 2014 program).

Chicago as Disneyland

May 19, 2014

The members of the Science Club at Pleasantdale Middle School in Burr Ridge enthusiastically interacted with their guest speaker, our Drew Carhart, when he spent some time talking about the importance of darkness at night with them.

April 11, 2014

Team member Drew Carhart was a speaker at a meeting of the Chicago Astronomical Society which was focused on light pollution issues at Adler Planetarium .

March 5, 2014

Team member Drew Carhart spoke about light-at-night issues for the members of the Town & Country Garden Club of Libertyville today, focusing especially on how manmade light disturbs natural environments.

Globe at Night 2013

January, 2014

Globe at Night will be taking night sky brightness data from people all around the world throughout the year this year; you can enter in your observations either from their website, or from a free smart phone app. Participate!

September 18, 2013

Team member Drew Carhart fielded questions about light-at-night issues following a screening of The City Dark at a meeting of the Chicago Section of the IEEE-IAS (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Industrial Applications Society).

May 16, 2013

Team member Drew Carhart fielded questions about light-at-night issues following a screening of The City Dark at a joint meeting of the Chicago Chapter of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers and the Chicago Section of the IEEE-PES (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).

April 22, 2013

Team members Jeff Gahris and Drew Carhart participated in the Glen Ellyn Park District's Earth Day Summit, helping to share the word about conservation of the nighttime environment.

April 22, 2013

The team at Verlust der Nacht (Loss of the Night) in Germany has released an app for Android devices which allows the user to take and submit star visibility readings from any location at any time. The readings go directly into the Globe at Night database, adding important ground information on the current state of world-wide light pollution. The app is available for free at The Google Play Store.

April 17, 2013

Team member Drew Carhart traveled to Riverside to give two presentations; during the afternoon to the fifth grade classes at Central Elemantary School, and in the evening for the The Frederick Law Olmsted Society.

March 4, 2013

Team member Drew Carhart spoke for the Elmhurst Garden Club, and reports that they were a great audience of conservation-minded people who were most interested in discussing the topic of manmade light's effects on the environment. (Drew notes that he was asked, as we usually are after such presentations, why society isn't doing more to address this obvious issue...)

February 21, 2013

Team member Drew Carhart spoke at a symposium for the Chicago Sciemce Writers, held at Adler Planetarium, adding insight about the ecological effects of light pollution to other presenters' discussion of LP and astronomy.

Globe at Night 2013

January 1, 2013

Globe at Night has announced its observing schedule for 2013: January 3-12, Jan. 31-Feb. 9, March 3-12, Mar. 31-Apr. 9, and Apr. 29-May 8. This great world-wide program encourages citizens to go out after dark and note what stars they can see in a specific area of sky; this data allows researchers to judge how much the sky is brightened in each location by manmade light, and create better maps of the level of artificial skyglow all around the world. By collecting this data from year to year, the changes in the amount of this "light pollution" can be monitored. Participate!

ICROL team member gives Sierra Club River Prairie Group presentation.

September 10, 2012

Team member Drew Carhart gave a presentation on the ecological impacts of manmade light at night to the River Prairie Group of the Sierra Club in Glen Ellyn. His talk focused on how contemporary environmental conservation is tending to ignore the nocturnal half of the natural environment, and the importance of adding the night back into the picture.

September 1, 2012

Even though rainy skies prevented the main event -- viewing of celestial objects -- a decent crowd turned out at Canitgny Park in Winfield for the park's autumn stargazing night, to hear team member Drew Carhart speak about "How Chicagoland Lost its Night Sky", and another member of the Naperville Astronomical Association give a talk about the constellations.

July 7, 2012

Team member Drew Carhart joined fellow speakers Lucianne Walkowicz (Princeton University), Harald Stark (Aerodyne Research), Sue Bennett (National Park Service), George Brainard (Thomas Jefferson University) and David Blask (Tulane University) in a afternoon symposium on "Starlight Preservation" at the 2012 national convention of the Astronomical League, held in Lincolnshire, Illinois.

July 2, 2012

The documentary "The City Dark" will air on PBS's POV program this Thursday, July 5. It is a must see; a fine introduction to the concept of preservation of the natural night. It will also be available online for viewing for a period after the broadcast.

Watch The City Dark - Trailer on PBS. See more from POV.

June 12, 2012

We've added a new editorial page to this website, in our continuing effort to address the wide gamut of issues related to nocturnal conservation. In it, we take a look at the daytime-centered vision of much of the environmental conservation movement up to this point -- how the nighttime environment, even though it makes up half of the natural world, is often overlooked. Something to share with people you know who are concerned about environmental conservation, but who haven't recognized how our society has come close to making night itself extinct. (As with many of our papers, this one is available as a PDF file to easily share; look for the Acrobat symbol at the bottom of the page.)

April 21, 2012

Our team set up our display at the Glen Ellyn Park District's Earth Day Awareness Celebration, and Drew gave a presentation on nighttime conservation issues. Glen Ellyn has had its share of issues with outdoor lighting over the past few years, and some of its conservation-minded residents were interested to hear that they were right in concluding that manmade light must affect the natural world.

April 12, 2012

Team member Drew Carhart spoke at an assembly at Amundsen High School in Chicago, where the students in the International Baccalaureate program are undertaking a service-learning unit which focuses on Dark Skies Awareness. Drew made a point of telling the students about the strong role which awareness of the stars and the night sky has played throughout human history (and prehistory), and how theirs was the first generation of humans to have the night sky taken away from them on a widespread basis. He also addressed ecological impacts, and how solutions to lighting problems are readily available, if we make better choices.

March 10, 2012

Following a screening of the fine documentary film The City Dark at Northwestern University, team member Drew Carhart joined Annette Prince of the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors in a discussion session with the audience, addressing numerous questions they had about topics raised in the film. If you haven't seen The City Dark yet, watch for opportunities to do so, or even look into hosting a screening in your area; it is a fine introduction to some of the issues surrounding our misuse of light at night.

February 21, 2012

We have published a new webpage on light and human health, focusing on current research which is delivering strong evidence that our widespread, increasing use of artificial light at night is exacerbating a number of serious health issues in our society. Light may seem a completely benign thing, but in reality, bright light at night is wholly unnatural, and very disruptive to living organisms -- including ourselves, it seems.

February 2, 2012

Self-regulation ordinances for outdoor lighting control were passed by both the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the County's Forest Preserve District's Board of Commissioners this week (see Here for a copy of the ordinance, which had the same content for both versions). As with many things in life, this issue is multi-faceted. It is tremendous that after the commissioners of both bodies were presented with the concept that manmade skyglow had robbed the night sky over the county of its stars, and that poor lighting practice (which they ultimately manage) was to blame, they voted unanimously to act to do something about it -- at least in the future, to try and use better practices. On the down side, the ordinances (which, it should be made clear, only apply to lighting which either the County or the Forest Preserve District install and operate -- not all outdoor lighting in the County) are fairly vague, not specifying much in actual measurable performance.
In jumping from "nothing" to "something" as far as recognition of our responsibility to use light in environmentally safe methods at night, this is a great first step for Cook County, and we applaud the Commissioners who backed it, and the citizens who introduced them to the issue. But it is important to note that this accomplishment is just one step down the road for nighttime preservation; we need to keep pushing forward!

ICROL team member gives Citizens for Conservation presentation.

January 21, 2012

Team member Drew Carhart gave a presentation on the ecological impacts of manmade light at night to the Citizens for Conservation, headquartered in Barrington. His talk focused on the multiple pathways by which artificial light can disrupt the behavior and physiology of many organisms in the outdoor environment.

Globe at Night 2012

January 13, 2012

Tomorrow, the first session of Globe at Night for 2012 opens. This great world-wide program encourages citizens to go out after dark and note what stars they can see in a specific area of sky; this data allows researchers to judge how much the sky is brightened in each location by manmade light, and create better maps of the level of artificial skyglow all around the world. By collecting this data from year to year, the changes in the amount of this "light pollution" can be monitored.
The Globe at Night survey dates for 2012 are: January 14-23, February 12-21, March 13-22, April 11-20. Taking part is really easy to do -- click on the link above, and participate!

November 21, 2011

Congratulations to the Village of Homer Glen for becoming the world's third "International Dark Sky Community" (see press release from the International Dark-Sky Association, the sponsor of the Dark Sky Community award). The previous two Dark Sky Communities are located under -- dark skies, but the award recognizes not the skies, but the strong committment of the municipality to keep "light pollution" in check. Special recognition to our board member Debra Briggs, who single-handedly instigated the effort in Homer Glen over a decade ago, and worked long and hard to convince her fellow villagers that conservation of the night was important.

October 12, 2011

We have added a new article on the ecological impact of manmade light at night to this website. In just a blink of geological time, we have suddenly taken away the natural dark of night from widespread areas, and this massive environmental change has "flown under the radar" of most ecological research. Our story starts with the lowly firefly...

September 24, 2011

We set up a display at the Moving Planet event in Villa Park, put on by the excellent people of Sierra Club River Prairie Group. We had a great time talking nighttime preservation and energy savings to a lot of folks who are genuinely concerned about the state of our planet.

August 7, 2011

We have added a new editorial on current outdoor lighting standards which begins the discussion by looking at the level of illumination provided by the full moon -- a level of lighting which has been making nocturnal outdoor activity possible for humans for millennia.

July 24, 2011

We have added an article on municipal lighting ordinances to this website, to offer help to communities which are exploring the idea of instituting or increasing their outdoor lighting regulation. This is a complex subject, which has been complicated further by the release of the problematic IDA/IES Model Lighting Ordinance.

May 5, 2011

Team member Drew Carhart gave a presentation for the Natural History Society of Barrington on the wide range of effects which current manmade lighting practices have on the natural world.

April 21, 2011

Team member Drew Carhart gave a presentation on "Improving How We Light the Night" at the Greening Our Communities conference in Thompson. The day-long event featured a number of speakers on topics related to progressive environmental stewardship; the audience included staff and officials from municipalities, business leaders, and concerned citizens from the Jo Daviess / Carroll County area and beyond.

Hidden Wonders exhibit at Adler Planetarium, Chicago

March 29, 2011

We're happy to announce that Chicago's Adler Planetarium has just opened a new temporary exhibit called Hidden Wonders -- Preserving the Night Sky, dealing with how unwise application of manmade light has robbed us of the stars, and how there is hope for their return by improving outdoor lighting practices. You should go see it! And, while at Adler, remind yourself about the amazing universe out there, and why it is important that our view of it be restored.

Earth Hour 2011.

March 19, 2011

Next Saturday brings Earth Hour 2011. This annual event is wonderfully successful at letting the general population know not only that energy consumption is a critical issue of our time, but that decision making by individuals can make a big difference, and that unnecessary and inefficient outdoor lighting wastes tremendous amounts of electricity. Get personally involved, and encourage friends, co-workers and businesses to participate.

March 17, 2011

Team member Drew Carhart spoke for the Prairie Woods Audubon Society about a wide range of issues dealing with how manmade light effects nocturnal ecology and the environment in general.

March 14, 2011

Two projects which our organization has been providing technical advise for have reached conclusions today; one in the "plus" category, and one in the "minus":
Neighbors of a private school in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago have been battling the school's plans to add stadium lighting to a sports field surrounded by residences and public streets and park. They came to us looking for more information on the nature of such lighting, and how it would impact their neighborhood. Because of the opposition which the neighbors mounted, the school has withdrawn the plan to install the lighting.
On Chicago's north side, we were contacted by members of the Halstead Triangle property owners' association, who are petitioning the City to change some of its plans for the revamping of the neighborhood. The property owners are looking for a contemporary atmosphere, and were wondering about an alternative to the Chicago's "Victorian" streetlight style. We worked with some lighting contacts, and suggested some more contemporary poles and fixtures which are in the City's current catalog; the installation we suggested would have eliminated much of the glare which the Victorian lights create, used fewer, less expensive poles, consumed notably less electricity, and reduced light shining into neighborhood windows and up into the sky, while providing attractive illumination to the street and sidewalks.
But when the issue came up for a vote before the whole property owners' association, it regressed to the level where most municipal street lighting decisions are still made: people looked at daytime photos of the Chicago Victorian poles, and the modern poles, and said the Victorian ones were prettier. Forget nighttime performance, energy consumption, anything else: the "prettier" picture won.
So, win some, lose some, in the ongoing battle for better lighting.


January 24, 2011

We spend a lot of time explaining how manmade light, especially when applied poorly or in excess, wastes energy and can have negative effects on the environment and on our health and safety. But what is often not talked about is that these negative effects often depend strongly on what colors are present in the light in question -- a fact that may not be readily obvious to the eye. We have created a paper which explains how light color matters, to provide some insight into the issues.

December 13, 2010

Researchers from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the results of their research on how air pollution (i.e. smog) behaves over cities, which found that manmade light in the sky at night is hampering, to a significant level, a natural process where ozone is removed from the air at night. So, we can add yet another item to the list of harmful effects caused by dumping artificial light into the nocturnal environment.

Visit us at Facebook!

November 17, 2010

We've just put up a page at Facebook, to help us spread timely information about new studies, recent articles, and our group's activites. Click here and pay our "wall" a visit! "Like" us, and help spread the word that "it is time to re-think lighting"!

Phantom Load in the sky.

October 31, 2010

In spirit with the Halloween season, we've added the editorial Phantom Load vs. Monstrous Waste to this website. It compares the amount of energy waste due to "phantom load", the power draw of electronic devices in their standby mode, to the energy waste by streetlights which operate at times of little or no traffic, and light fixture designs which send "monstrous" amounts of their energy output in the non-productive directions.

Northwest Illinois Green Fair 2010

September 25, 2010

Our team participated in the Northwest Illinois Green Fair, held in Galena. While many of the more rural areas of our state are not yet as brightly lit up as our cities, we still find residents concerned about increasing obtrusive illumination and energy waste; the idea that rural areas can be exempt from the ill effects of poor lighting practices is an illusion.

September 22, 2010

Due to interest expressed by many parties, we have created a synopsis publication for our Manmade Light At Night: Perils And Promises symposium of last March. A free, downloadable copy (PDF, ~2MB) is available here.

August 25, 2010

Our team is proud to announce a new member to our executive board: Jeffery Gahris, of Glen Ellyn. As a twenty year resident of the village, Jeff served on its Environmental Commission. More recently, Jeff organized the Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition, which promotes energy conservation and reduction of “greenhouse” gases. As a member of the Naperville Astronomical Association and the International Dark-sky Association, he has advocated efficient and appropriate use of outdoor lighting. Welcome to the team, Jeff!

ICROL team member on Chicago Tonight public affairs program.

August 24, 2010

Team member Debra Norvil (who is also a board member of the International Dark-sky Association) was featured on a segment on the prime-time public affairs program Chicago Tonight on WTTW, Channel 11, Chicago. (Click link to view.) Reducing the skyglow of light pollution, which has robbed our night skies of stars over just the past few decades, has always been the core objective of the IDA, and has a place on our Coalition's list of prime issues presented by current outdoor lighting practices.

August 5, 2010

Our board met with management and staff of the Illinois Susatinable Technology Center in Champaign to discuss outdoor lighting issues. In Illinois House Resolution 884, the ISTC was charged with developing programs to provide Illinois agencies, municipalities, and businesses with engineering assistance to help them achieve sustainable, responsible outdoor lighting practices. We perceive a tremendous need for such assistance, and look forward to a partnership of working with the ISTC in developing and supplying that aid to parties all across our state.

ICROL team members present Bird Conservation Network.

July 17, 2010

Team member Drew Carhart was the guest speaker at the quarterly meeting of the Bird Conservation Network, where he described to the attendees how manmade light is affecting the environment. The BCN is a coalition of Illinois bird watching, research, and conservation groups, which contributes a tremendous amount to the effort of preserving wild birds and their habitats, and to further our understanding of ornithology and area ecology. Our group is happy to serve as a resource for the BCN and its member organizations as they explore the impact of mammade light on bird populations and nocturnal ecology.

July 14, 2010

Our team gave a presentation to to the Village of Oak Lawn Green Team, filling them in on the issues related to how our society currently lights up the night. We stand ready to help them (and people from all Illinois municipalities) as they work toward saving energy, money, and their town's nighttime environment by adopting sustainable lighting practices.

June 23, 2010

Show your support for reducing the impact of artificial light on the night skies over our country's (the U.S.A.'s) national parks by voting your support to this proposal (click for link), suggesting that the subject of preserving those night skies be addressed. The loss of the stars, Milky Way, and other celestial sights over our national preserves changes their timeless nature no less than logging away their trees, leveling their hills for mines, or draining their lakes and streams them would.

June 2, 2010

Our work in Will County, providing advise to the county government on how to address the illumination issues surrounding new installations of digital billboards, brought it to our awareness that it is hard to find good information on the subject provided by parties with an understanding of lighting engineering and environmental impact and with no financial stake in outdoor advertising. In response to this lack of resources, we have drawn up a white paper on electronic signage, which includes the conclusions we've reached based on our research into the real-world, historical application of outdoor signs. We hope this resource will prove valuable to municipal leaders who are trying to understand the technicalities involved in operating and regulating digital signs.

May 25, 2010

Our group was featured as a major resource in the article Light pollution dulls the night sky for stargazers - and drains city funds in the online Medill Reports from the Medill school of journalism at Northwestern University.

May 22, 2010

We set up our traveling exhibit at the Village of Homer Glen's 2010 Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration, and shared much discussion of lighting issues with many attendees and fellow exhibitors. The Will County event also was fertile ground for discussion of the plans for adopting regulations of digital billboards (see items below).

May 19, 2010

Our team appeared at the request of the Kane County Energy & Environmental Technology Committee to fill them in on conservation issues surrounding outdoor illumination. Team member Drew Carhart gave a presentation on responsible lighting principles, and the committee discussed plans for creating new lighting guidelines for the county. We look forward to assisting them in the effort toward increased energy and nighttime conservation.

Herals News cover story

May 17, 2010

Our board members were featured prominently in cover story in the Herald News (Will County) article on the County Board's work to develop new regulations governing the installation of digital billboards.

Calumet Summit 2010

April 28, 2010

Our team attended the Calumet Summit 2010 at Purdue University's Hammond, Indiana campus, to connect with scores of organizations and individuals who have concerns related to the natural environment of the region around the southern end of Lake Michigan.

Outdoor advertising and light pollution

April 27, 2010

Our group is serving as a stakeholder in the Will County Land Use Department's committee work on re-working the county's zoning ordinance content pertaining to outdoor advertising. We are bringing to the table our expertise on outdoor lighting matters, and our commitment to environmental responsibility. Major concerns for the county include deciding on a policy to address the use of digital billboards, which are not covered in current County ordinances.

April 24, 2010

We participated in Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation's Earth Day 2010 event at North Central College, discussing outdoor lighting issues with many attendees and other exhibitors.

April 18, 2010

We set up our exhibits at Will County C.A.R.E.'s 8th Annual Earth Day Fest at Lewis University in Romeoville, and chatted with many attendees and other exhibitors about the many negative environmental impacts of our society's current outdoor lighting practices.

April 9, 2010

Our team took part in the Stargazing in Homer Township event, helping a large crowd of area residents view the wonders of the nighttime heavens, and to understand how manmade light is increasingly hiding those views from us all.

April 1, 2010

We were invited to speak for a joint meeting of the Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation and the Glen Ellyn Cool Cities Coalition; team member Debra Lazar Pearl led the presentation on local lighting practices, how they effect residential environments, and what "night friendly" and energy-saving alternatives are available.

March 27, 2010 - Earth Hour and the Chicago Skyline

Chicago skyline before Earth Hour 2010.

Run your mouse pointer over the photo to see the same scene photographed just before the start of Earth Hour 2010. Shutting off just some unnecessary lights makes a difference in the Chicago skyline, but does nothing about all the streetlight and park light glare...
According to a 3/27/2010 press release by Commonwealth Edison, "the reduction in electricity usage in the City of Chicago and ComEd’s northern Illinois service territory during Earth Hour was estimated to be about 100 megawatt hours. The energy reduction is the equivalent of removing 124,320 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or planting 15 acres of trees." Quite a substantial environmental impact, from simply turning off some "decorative" lighting for an hour.


March 27, 2010

Team member Debra Norvil was interviewed on WGN Radio, Nick Digilio's show. The interview highlighted the Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting, the recent passage of Illinois House Resolution #0884, and Earth Hour in the Village of Homer Glen.

Earth Hour 2009.

March 27, 2010

Earth Hour is here again; this annual event serves to put a "public face" on energy conservation, global climate change, and what each individual, business and town can do to actively take part in the solution. Earth Hour focuses on the reduction of unnecessary lighting; this area of energy waste was chosen specifically because it is so egregious, so widespread, and so easily remedied-- just turn off unneeded lights! What we need to do is move to the next step: Don't turn them back on when Earth Hour is over!

March 25, 2010

Team member Debra Norvil gave a presentation on light pollution to the fourth through eighth grade students at Lemont Montessori School.

March 24, 2010

Team member Drew Carhart gave a presentation on the energy waste involved in current outdoor lighting practices to the environmentally-conscious folks gathered at the March meeting of Elgin Green Drinks.

March 17, 2010

We are extremely happy to report that Illinois State House of Representatives House Resolution 0884, which "Expresses the support of the House of Representatives for improved night preservation practices in the State of Illinois and encourages municipalities and State agencies to research and adopt suitable outdoor lighting practices" was adopted without debate on the floor the House today! We want to express our appreciation to all of the Representatives who recognize the importance of night, and our responsibility to preserve it far better than our society has been doing in the recent past, including:

Rep. Renée Kosel (81st District), who introduced and sponsored the Resolution;

the additional Co-Sponsors:

Rep. Karen May (Chief Co-Sponsor, 58th District)

Rep. Patricia R. Bellock (Chief Co-Sponsor, 47th District)

Rep. Darlene J. Senger (Chief Co-Sponsor, 96th District)

Rep. Mike Fortner (Chief Co-Sponsor, 95th District)

Rep. Michael W. Tryon (64th District)

Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (17th District)

Rep. Sandra M. Pihos (42nd District)

Rep. Sandy Cole (62nd District)

Rep. Mark H. Beaubien, Jr. (52nd District)

Rep. Franco Coladipietro (45th District)

Rep. Dennis M. Reboletti (46th District)

Rep. Randy Ramey, Jr. (55th District)

Rep. Sidney H. Mathias (53rd District)

Rep. Donald L. Moffitt (74th District)

Rep. Robert W. Pritchard (70th District);

and the members of the Illinois House Environmental Health Committee, who unanimously passed the Resolution on to the full House:

Rep. Karen May (58th District)

Rep. Kevin A. McCarthy (37th District)

Rep. Jil Tracy (93rd District)

Rep. Paul D. Froehlich (56th District)

Rep. Julie Hamos (18th District)

Rep. Naomi D. Jakobsson (103rd District)

Rep. Elaine Nekritz (57th District)

Rep. Robert Rita (28th District)

Rep. Chapin Rose (110th District)

Rep. Timothy L. Schmitz (49th District)

Rep. Ron Stephens (102nd District)

Rep. Michael W. Tryon (64th District)

Rep. Dave Winters (68th District)

Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough (7th District)

March 15, 2010

Lewis University's press release followup to our Manmade Light at Night symposium.

March 11, 2010

Illinois State House of Representatives House Resolution 0884, which "Expresses the support of the House of Representatives for improved night preservation practices in the State of Illinois and encourages municipalities and State agencies to research and adopt suitable outdoor lighting practices" was passed by unanimous vote by the House Environmental Health Committee today. Its next stop is a vote of the entire State House; its passage there will represent the first commitment by statewide government in Illinois to the concept of nighttime stewardship, and a tremendous boon for our cause.
For you Illinois residents, PLEASE contact YOUR state representatives, and let them know that these issues are important to you, and that you strongly encourage them to back adoption of HR0884! Stay tuned here for future updates on this important "milestone" in our state.

March 11, 2010

Our day-long symposium attracted over 100 attendees from across Illinois and beyond, and generated a large amount of positive feedback. Our thanks go out to the day's speakers, who each did a tremendous job of presenting strong, substantiated reasons for improving outdoor lighting practices, drawn on evidence of energy waste, ecological damage, human health and safety issues, and the costs to society from the loss of the nighttime sky.
Soon, we will be reformatting the symposium webpage of this site to feature photographs and other information from the event. When production and editing is completed, we will make available a downloadable, free of charge report, featuring some of the presentation content from the day.

March 9, 2010

U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley (Illinois 5th District) introduced H.R.4797, the “Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2010”, into the House of Representatives. If made into law, the bill would require the General Services Administration to include bird-safe construction in new government buildings, and bird-safe practices in both new and existing facilities; this includes a mandate to "address interior and exterior lighting’s impacts on native bird species." Bird injury and death caused directly by how we light buildings, both on the exterior, and with interior lighting after hours shining out through windows and other translucent surfaces, totals up to staggering numbers each year in this country. The federal government rightly should take a leadership role in correcting this problem; we strongly support the measure, and encourage all environmentally concerned U.S. citizens to contact their Representatives and encourage their support for H.R.4797.

February 28, 2010

A feature article in the Southtown Star newspaper talks about our team member Debra Norvil's successful efforts in her home town of Homer Glen to improve outdoor lighting conditions there, and about the work of our coalition.

February 11, 2010

Only one month remains before our symposium, "Manmade Light at Night: Perils and Promises"; remember that pre-registration (by mail) is required, and that space is limited. Visit the Symposium Webpage for instructions on registering. The event will feature fine speakers -- specialists in the various topics covered on this website -- who are coming in from around the country to inform us. If any issues surrounding the use of artificial light outdoors at night concern you, DON'T MISS THIS EVENT!

February 4, 2010

Illinois State Representative Renée Kosel (R, 81st District) filed House Resolution 0884, "for improved night preservation practices in the State of Illinois and encourages municipalities and State agencies to research and adopt suitable outdoor lighting practices" today. We are extremely proud to have worked with Rep. Kosel in getting the resolution written and submitted; it will serve to raise attention to our issues and "open the door" to future discussions with our state leaders about improving outdoor lighting practices in Illinois.
For you Illinois residents, PLEASE contact YOUR state representatives, and let them know that these issues are important to you, and that you strongly encourage them to back adoption of HR0884! Stay tuned here for future updates on this important "milestone" in our state.

January 20, 2010

Team member Debra Norvil inaugurated our status as a Member Organization of Chicago Wilderness by attending a meeting of the C.W. Steering Committee. During the comment session, Debra invited the Steering Committee members to attend our March 11, 2010 "Manmade Light at Night: Perils and Promises" symposium at Lewis University.

DuPage Environmental Summit 2010

January 7, 2010

We exhibited again this year at the DuPage Environmental Summit, sponsored by the DuPage Environmental Commission, The Conservation Foundation, The DuPage Community Foundation, the DuPage County Board - Environmental Committee, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Benedictine University, SCARCE, and the University of Illinois Extension Service. This year's focus for the summit was on preserving open space; our goal was to remind attendees that open space should look natural both during day and night!

Buildings Magazine December 2009

December 3, 2009

Buildings Magazine's December 2009 issue features the cover story on outdoor lighting titled Improve Outdoor Lighting Practices, written by our team member Drew Carhart. The feature was also selected to be mirrored in Archi-Tech Magazine's December issue.

Naperville Astronomical Assn. becomes ICROL Coalition Partner.

November 3, 2009

At their monthly business meeting, the members of the Naperville Astronomical Association voted both to join us as an official Coalition Partner, and to donate funds to become a leading Sponsor for our March 11 "Manmade Light at Night" symposium. We welcome the NAA to our team, and look forward to a cooperative effort to help bring some darkness back to the astronomy group's Chicago-area nighttime skies. (Photo: Debra Lazar Pearl and NAA President Steve Miller)

October 29, 2009

Team members Debra Lazar Pearl and Drew Carhart met with staff from the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center in Champaign to discuss outdoor lighting and energy efficiency. SEDAC is a state agency, run through the University of Illinois, which provides assistance to Illinois businesses and communities to help them reduce energy consumption through the application of better engineering. Our team and SEDAC will be working together to create an informative report on energy-saving outdoor lighting principles.

October 6, 2009

After months of planning, we're delighted to announce that we're organizing Illinois' first public seminar on the "perils and promises" of outdoor lighting, to be held at Lewis University in Romeoville in March of 2010. See our Symposium webpage for more details, and reserve the date of Thursday, March 11 on your calendar now!

ICROL participates in International Year of Astronomy event.

October 3, 2009

Our team exhibited at the "A Day Of Astronomy" public event organized by the Naperville Astronomical Association in recognition of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy.

September 26, 2009

Team member Drew Carhart gave a talk explaining "light pollution" and why the Chicago area has lost its starry night sky as part of a public stargazing event at Cantigny Park in Winfield.

August 13, 2009

The members of the International Astronomical Union voted unanimously at their biennial convention to approve a resoultion "in Defence of the night sky and the right to starlight". Here are some quotes from the text of the resolution:

1. An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered a fundamental socio-cultural and environmental right, and that the progressive degradation of the night sky should be regarded as a fundamental loss.
2. Control of obtrusive and sky glow-enhancing lighting should be a basic element of nature conservation policies since it has adverse impacts on humans and wildlife, habitats, ecosystems, and landscapes.
3. Responsible tourism, in its many forms, should be encouraged to take on board the night sky as a resource to protect and value in all destinations.
4. IAU members be encouraged to take all necessary measures to involve the parties related to skyscape protection in raising public awareness – be it at local, regional, national, or international level – about the contents and objectives of the International Conference in Defence of the Quality of the Night Sky and the Right to Observe Stars [], in particular the educational, scientific, cultural, health and recreational importance of preserving access to an unpolluted night sky for all humankind.

June 17, 2009

At the annual meeting of its House of Delegates, the American Medical Association adopted its Resolution 516 "Advocating and Support for Light Pollution Control Efforts and Glare Reduction for Both Public Safety and Energy Savings". We roundly applaud our nation's medical leaders for taking the initiative to recognize the level of impact nighttime illumination has on the well-being of our citizenry. Here are some quotes from the text of the resolution:

Whereas, Our AMA has long advocated for policies that are scientifically sound and that positively influence public health policy; and Whereas, We in the AMA have an opportunity to influence and promote legislation at both the state and national level on energy savings through a reduction in light pollution; and Whereas, Light Pollution is increasingly recognized as a waste of energy and a public safety issue...
...Whereas, Streetlight glare causes decreased nighttime visibility by pupil constriction, and thus leads to diminished nighttime visibility and creates a safety hazard; and Whereas, Many older citizens are significantly affected by glare as the eye ages, leading to unsafe driving conditions; and Whereas, Glare light is also light trespass and is intrusive and unwanted in households and dwellings; and Whereas, Light trespass has been implicated in disruption of the human and animal circadian rhythm, and strongly suspected as an etiology of suppressed melatonin production, depressed immune systems, and increase in cancer rates such as breast cancers; and Whereas, Light trespass disrupts nocturnal animal activity and results in diminished various animal populations' survival and health; therefore be it RESOLVED, that our American Medical Association advocate that all future outdoor lighting be of energy efficient designs to reduce waste of energy and production of greenhouse gasses that result from this wasted energy use; and be it further RESOLVED, That our AMA support light pollution reduction efforts and glare reduction efforts art both national and state levels; and be it further RESOLVED, That our AMA support efforts to ensure that all future streetlights be of a fully shielded design or similar non-glare design to improve the safety of our roadways for all, but especially vision impaired and older drivers. (Full text available Here)

May 17, 2009

Team member Debra Norvil exhibited at the C.A.R.E. (Citizens Against Ruining the Environment) Earth Day celebration at Dellwood Park in Lockport.

ICROL participates in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

May 16, 2009

Our team participated in the Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation's "It's Good to be Green" event. Debra Norvil and Debra Lazar Pearl addressed outdoor lighting concerns from about 75 attendees, many seeking near-term remedies on their residential properties, such as neighbors flood lights, where to find shielding for existing lights, and information on protections within their village code.

May 14, 2009

Team member Debra Norvil gave a presentation on Light Pollution to the Will County Audubon Society during their monthly meeting.

ICROL exhibit at Green Earth Institute, Naperville, Illinois.

May 3, 2009

Our team joined dozens of other exhibitors at the Green Earth Institute's 2009 "Green Earth Fair" in Naperville, where we had been invited to raise public awareness of outdoor lighting issues.

ICROL exhibit at Elgin, Illinois.

April 25, 2009

We set up our educational exhibit at the Elgin Climate Change Organization's "ECCO Green Expo", and shared our lighting message with many folks from Kane County and beyond. Team member Drew Carhart was also a speaker during the event.

April 21, 2009

Team members Debra Lazar Pearl and Debra Norvil met with U.S. Congressman Bill Foster's (IL-14) Eastern District Director of Outreach to discuss H.R. 1732, Outdoor Lighting Efficiency Act (see March 26th news item, below), and luminaire efficiency.

April 8, 2009

Our team has created a new 2-page flier aimed at explaining to people in decision-making positions that streetlight fixture choices need to be made based on energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. Much too often we hear about how fixture selections for whole municipalities are still being made based on how the units look in daytime photos in catalogs, totally ignoring the fact that the lights are huge energy consumers, installed to serve an illumination need at night. We welcome your use of the flier as you see fit; it is available for download on the Resources> Our Materials page of this website.

ICROL team members share views of the heavens with public.

March 28, April 2-5 2009

Our team members participated in public outreach events during both Earth Hour and the International Year of Astronomy 100 Hours of Astronomy event. Raising public awareness of outdoor lighting issues is one of our major goals, and these events provide an excellent way of tying lighting issues directly to practical issues which matter to people, like energy savings (Earth Hour) and light pollution taking away our ability to see the night sky (100 Hours of Astronomy).

March 30, 2009

We've unveiled a major addition to this website: An "Encyclopedia of Lighting Terminology", featuring definitions of many terms used in lighting engineering, the study of light and the environment, and vision. We hope that this tool helps our visitors learn about and understand our issues better; also that it "keeps us on the same page" when using terms which have vague, multiple, and/or confusing definitions. Many specific terms on other pages of this website are now linked directly to their entry on the encyclopedia page, which can also be found in the website menu under Resources > Encyclopedia of Terms.

March 26, 2009

U.S. Representative Jane Harman (D-California) has introduces H.R. 1732, Outdoor Lighting Efficiency Act, to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill is intended "to provide for standards for energy efficient outdoor lighting". We applaud Congresswoman Harman's efforts, and are in communication with her. Our team's main suggestion is that the bill speaks about outdoor "luminaire efficiency", when in application, it only addresses lamp efficacy, and not the actual overall efficiency of the luminaire. While lamp efficacy is an important factor in energy savings, and perhaps a good step on the path to energy efficiency in outdoor lighting, the bill's wording should not give the impression that total luminaire efficiency is being addressed.

March 19, 2009

Team member Drew Carhart's letter, "LEDs and the environment" about LEDs and outdoor illumination was published in the March 2009 issue of Photonics Spectra.

click to view  
March 2009

ICROL team member presents outdoor lighting lecture.

March 18, 2009

Team member Debra Norvil presented lectures on Light Pollution to the Earth Science classes of Ms. Flood and Ms. Jackson at Lockport Township High School, District 205. The students were very interested in the subject of Light Pollution as it was new to them. Lockport Township High School is also participating in Earth Hour 2009.

ICROL team members present outdoor lighting seminar.

March 11, 2009

Our team presented a seminar to more than 40 staff members of Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd. at the firm's Rosemont offices and via webcast to their satellite offices. CBBEL is a consulting engineering firm specializing in civil, municipal, traffic, construction, water resources, environmental, structural and mechanical engineering, and their employees had many interesting questions and comments about outdoor lighting practices. Our thanks to CBBEL for inviting us to come and speak.

March 5, 2009

A suburban Chicago newspaper published this fine article about the Village of Homer Glen's planned participation in Earth Hour this year, and their other public night-sky-oriented plans.

February 18, 2009

Illinois State Representative Rich Brauer (R., Springfield) will be presenting HB0854, "Outdoor Lighting Control Act", to the Illinois House Environment & Energy Committee on February 25th. Our coaltion enthusiastically applauds Rep. Brauer for independently deciding that the quality of the nighttime sky over our state is worth protecting.

February 9, 2009

A Joint Task Force of the International Dark-sky Association and the Illuminating Engineering Society released the core portion of the Model Lighting Ordinance (MLO), which they have been working on for a number of years, for public comment. Our coalition has reviewed the document, and is of the opinion that it contains several principle flaws which would limit its application and effectiveness so severely in our state that we could not promote its adoption here. Of most serious concern are three major items:
  1) The "lighting zones" strategy would place a huge workload on state, county, and local governments, which would have to form commissions to map every parcel in our entire state into a new zone system. Besides problems arising from creating that workload, the agencies doing this work would have the ability to arbitrarily apply such zoning, eliminating any impetus for a real, directed movement toward improved lighting, and especially of improving areas which are already suffering from over-illumination.
  2) The exemption of any regulation of streetlighting bypasses the major source of stray lighting into residential and natural areas in our state, and of stray light into our nightttime skies.
  3) We believe that the analysis methods called for in the MLO are simply too complex for the governments and staffs of municipalities and developers to comprehend, much less implement and enforce. While we don't disagree with some of the results which some of the proposed regulations are designed to achieve, we believe that similar or better results could be achieved by adopting regulations which are easier for more people to understand and implement. We appreciate that these methods are being proposed by engineering professionals, and that they have the training and equipment to implement them, but we don't see it as a likely real-world outcome that a professional lighting engineer will be brought in each time a new or replacement fixture is installed in our state.
Public comments on the MLO draft can be made until April 10th through this website: . Please read the posted instructions carefully, as failure to comply with all of them will invalidate your review.

Coalition exhibit at 2009 Wild Things conference.

February 7, 2009

Our full team was kept busy at the 2009 "Wild Things" conference, discussing lighting issues with some of the hundreds of attendees. The excellent event was organized by Audubon Chicago Region, Chicago Wilderness, The Nature Conservancy of Illinois, and the Volunteer Stewardship Network; it was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Our state is very fortunate to have so many citizens who are sincerely concerned about environmental issues!

Earth Hour 2009.

February 4, 2009

Chicago's Mayor Daley announced today that his city will once again serve as a U.S. Flagship City for Earth Hour this year. The Village of Homer Glen is also on board, to serve as a flagship for smaller towns across America; Homer Glen's Mayor Daley recorded this video clip to express his village's support.

January 28, 2008

Team member Drew Carhart gave a lecture to students at Lewis University (Romeoville) on the nighttime natural environment and how manmade light is disturbing it.

Coalition exhibit at 2009 DuPage Environmental Summit.

January 8, 2009

We set up our traveling exhibit at the sixth annual DuPage Environmental Summit, which had "Greening Our Transportation and Roads" as its theme (so we did a lot of discussing roadway lighting with attendees!) The event was sponsored by the DuPage Environmental Commission, The Conservation Foundation, the DuPage Community Foundation, the DuPage County Board -Environmental & Transportation Committees, Benedictine University, SCARCE, and the University of Illinois Extension Service.

Chicago Metropolitain Agency for Planning

January 7, 2009

Our team gave a presentation on our many concerns about outdoor lighting to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). CMAP is working toward creating a 2040 Comprehensive Vision Plan to guide growth for Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties. We are pleased to announce that following our presentation, the committee members voted to add nighttime environmental stewardship and outdoor lighting improvement goals to their areas of concern in the 2040 Vision Plan.

Coalition members at Illinois Sustainable Government Symposium.

December 12, 2008

Our team ran an informative booth at The Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council's 2008 Sustainable Government Symposium in Springfield, and had the opportunity there to discuss lighting issues with conservation-minded staff members from a number of State agencies.

December 2, 2008

Team member Drew Carhart gave the feature presentation at the monthly meeting of the Naperville Astronomical Association, filling in the astronomers about where light pollution comes from, how stargazers are not the only people (or organisms) suffering from its ill effects, and what can be done about it.

November 24, 2008

Two of our team members met with the Senior Policy Advisor to Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn, and had a good discussion on responsible outdoor lighting.

Earth Hour 2009.

November, 2008

It is time to get involved in Earth Hour 2009. The 2007 and 2008 events were wonderfully successful at letting the general population know not only that energy consumption is a critical issue of our time, but that decision making by individuals can make a big difference, and that unnecessary and inefficient outdoor lighting wastes tremendous amounts of electricity. Get personally involved, and encourage your local government to participate.

November 5, 2008

Two of our team members attended a meeting of the Environment & Natural Resource Committee of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and introduced our concerns to the committee during the public forum section. Considerable discussion ensued, and we've been invited back to give a full presentation at their next meeting (January 7, 2009).

Coalition members at Sustainable Cities Symposium.

October 24, 2008

Our group made its public debut today at Lt. Governor Pat Quinn's 2008 Sustainable Cities Symposium. A great crowd of conservation-minded people attended this fine event; we were happy to be a part of it, and met many wonderful, concerned Illinoisans. While we still have a few pages to complete the work on for this website, we welcome our new visitors, hope that the resources we have here now will be helpful for you, and invite you to contact us for further information.

National Geographic Magazine cover feature on the perils of bad nighttime illumination.

October 23, 2008

The November 2008 issue of National Geographic Magazine features a fine cover story on manmade lighting and its effects on nature and mankind. Chicago is, much to the shame of Illinois, is featured as a "poster child" of energy waste; nothing at all for us to be proud of!

September 8, 2008

While this website hasn't yet "gone public", and not all of the planned initial content is completed, some of our friends and associates have been invited to take a look at what we have to offer so far, and give us their thoughts and suggestions. Thanks for taking a look! We would definitely like the site to be an effective, useful resource, and we're making every effort to have it present good, factual information in a readily understandable manner. Please feel free to send us your comments and ideas.

light pollution Illinois Chicago Cook County DuPage County Will County Springfield energy enviromnent global warming anti light pollution legislation lighting ordinances