Lights out for one Pacific Island means healthier wildlife

One of the world’s tiniest and least populated islands is going dark, for a good reason that is.

Niue, an island made of coral in the Pacific off the coast of New Zealand, has taken steps to mitigate light pollution that interferes with the nocturnal actions of wildlife.

More than 80% of the world’s population’s night sky view is altered by artificial light affecting wildlife across the globe.

“In areas brightly lit at night, turtles can’t find the ocean, birds become disoriented while flying, and clownfish don’t hatch,” Mariana Mayer Pinto, a marine scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told Mongabay news. “It can also affect the mass-spawning event of many reef-building corals.”

Species native to Niue include peka, a Pacific flying fox, and uga, a coconut crab. Both species play a role in seed dispersal on the island.

To cut its light pollution, Niue replaced street and domestic lighting with dimmer, more orange-hued LED bulbs and in doing so, earned the designation as the world’s first “dark sky” country by the International Dark-Sky Association.








UC commits to clean energy investments

The University of California became the largest university in the nation to fully divest in fossil fuels, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas,” Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said.

Over the course of five years, UC moved its $126 billion portfolio into environmentally sustainable investments including wind and solar energy.

Hampshire College in Massachusetts was the first to divest its portfolio of fossil fuels in 2011. Harvard and Georgetown University are among others who have pledged to divest as well.









Bigtime Boost in Birders

Bird watching is soaring in popularity this year as more people are finding ways to enjoy nature in their own backyards.

Birders set a world record in May during Global Big Day, reporting more than two million observations on the Cornell lab eBird platform, the New York Times reported.

Marshall Iliff, a project leader at the Cornell lab told the Times that this year’s bird watching participants have been “off the charts.”

Newbie bird watchers can help conservationists track bird populations and movement by contributing sightings to the eBird global database.