I often think that when it comes to providing a clear, arresting picture of human progress, no history textbooks, journal articles or playlists of informative YouTube videos come close to a high-contrast view of the Earth at night. The clusters of light tell a story.
Europe is covered with a faint but distinctive mesh of criss-crossing cities; the illuminated banks of great rivers penetrate deep into the otherwise shadowy terrain; and across the world, coastlines are dotted with the lights of ancient ports and former trading posts.
The trajectory this striking image represents feels so natural that it can be easy to forget the worrying environmental impacts of such far-reaching, exponential development. Street lights are not only costly, but ultimately unsustainable.
It is for this reason that Norfolk County Council’s current scheme should be lauded. Reducing unsightly light pollution, eliminating unnecessary energy usage, and saving money – these are goals on which most of us can agree.
As inconsequential this measure may seem in the grand scheme of things, one must remember that it is through these small adjustments to our lives that we will eventually build societies capable of prospering in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way
The concerns expressed by residents should not, of course, be disregarded. But when the rewards are so great and so easily obtainable, surely it would be preferable to see if it is feasible to make unlit nights the new normal?