Sunday, June 12, 2016

On Synchronous Fireflies & "Light Pollution"

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord!” Psalm 96:11-12.

I would love for you to learn a bit about “light pollution” and synchronous fireflies, one of God’s amazing creations! Their habitat is from Tennessee to Pennsylvania, but especially where we live near the Smoky Mountains, they are prevalent—most likely because of the moisture in the National Forest. Only a week ago, I stepped outside to take the garbage to the curb, and all the lights were out in our neighborhood. ****This is normal where we live—only a few out of 56 houses have any lights on outside their home at night. This makes for a VERY clear view of the stars at night.**** I then happened to glance at the trees in our yard—and I thought I saw Christmas lights! Yes, bright white lights flashing in a regular pattern, all over the yard! Wow! I had heard about them, but never seen them: synchronous fireflies! If you have never seen them, I encourage you to make a visit to somewhere you could appreciate them—usually the first two weeks of June are the most intense period of their mating season.

What strikes me is that if the lights were on outside, the fireflies probably wouldn’t be flashing, and most likely not in our yard—the female needs to see the males in the tree while she is on the ground looking up. This brings up the problem of “light pollution”, in that God created day and night for a more than one reason. Artificial light can often “mess up” the patterns God has established in his creation. Animals and plants depend on these God ordained patterns for their healthy life cycles. As is often the case, our focus is on our needs over those of the rest of creation. Yes, I agree, often times lights are left on for safety reasons outside our homes—but maybe we could try timers or lights triggered by motion sensors?

What is it that we can do in our little spheres of influence that will allow God’s glory to SHINE more clearly from creation? I think it is worth it when we consider the results—God is glorified in our actions, and we live more simply and in trust of God’s goodness proclaimed through His creation.

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