Artificial light pollution and building glass is responsible for the deaths of up to a billion birds every year in the United States. And New York City is at the center of the region with the worst light pollution in the country as well as in the midst of the Atlantic Flyway, one of the main routes of migratory birds traversing the U.S. That’s why Friends of Animals supports three bills—Intro 274-2018, 265-2018, and 271-2018—which are designed to limit light pollution in NYC.
The bills had a public hearing in front of the Committee on Environmental Protection on Dec. 1. Written testimony is still being accepted through end of day Dec. 3 at firstname.lastname@example.org. NY residents can also contact your City Council members and tell them to vote yes for these bills if they advance out of committee
You can find talking points by reading more about the harms of light pollution below:
The harms of light pollution are widespread, but our focus is on its effect on wildlife, particularly migratory birds. New Yorkers have become accustomed to finding dead or seriously injured migratory birds at the base of taller buildings. Some, such as the Circa Central Park buildings on 110th street, are notorious for their death toll during migration season.
Migratory birds are drawn to light. On evenings during migration season, birds will alter their paths to approach areas with increased light pollution. Unfortunately, these areas will cause them to lose their way and are often the most dangerous for the birds, as they are replete with tall, glass buildings. The results are predictable.
Int. 274, 265, and 271 are targeted to reducing light pollution in New York City without disrupting quality of life. Instead, they would significantly improve the quality of life of New York residents by ensuring that inessential, decorative lighting does not disrupt their sleep schedules and circadian rhythms. It saves the lives of countless birds and other non-human New Yorkers, saves the city substantial money, and reduces our carbon footprint. The proposals are a win-win-win.
The New York City Council has taken strides in caring for New York’s wildlife, treating our non-human neighbors with respect and dignity. The 2019 passage of Int. 1482, requiring bird-safe glass in new construction, was an important step toward improving our relationship to our environment. However, the bill does not impose requirements on existing buildings, even when they are changing their windows. As a result, these buildings continue to kill birds.