Light and the Environment

Humans are not the only creatures that depend upon the day-night cycle for their health and well-being. The agave is pollinated only at night: weaken the night and you weaken the agave, emblematic of New Mexico.

Birds, too, rely upon dark nights. Owls are adapted to take advantage of night darkness to hunt and feed. Migratory birds – Santa Fe sits along the Rio Grande Flyway – rely upon the dark to navigate by the stars: rob them of the night and they perish. 

Hummingbirds rely upon light in the blue-indigo-violet and beyond part of the spectrum for their sight. Too high color temperature lighting and they are blinded. 

And hummingbirds aren’t alone in seeing this way: most insects see in the blue-to-ultraviolet and are profoundly disturbed and disoriented by excessively “blue” light.


Last, but not least, we humans enjoy the dark night sky: the Milky Way in our own backyard (or shortly out of town) and the panorama of stars and constellations – just as they were seen hundreds and thousands of years ago – connect us with our ancestors of uncountable generations past.

Light at night that is brighter than necessary, “bluer” than necessary, where it is not needed, or when it is not needed, disturbs the balance of nature. 

Responsible lighting – lighting with a purpose, no brighter than necessary, only where necessary, only when necessary, and as low temperature as is possible – protects our health and the health of all of creation – plant and animal – that we share New Mexico with.