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The evidence of the Anthropocene is typically described as material changes (think: modifications to the planet’s surface, the accumulation of waste plastic in the world’s oceans, or excess carbon in the atmosphere). But humanity’s outsized impact on the Earth is also represented by the influence of light. According to scientist Johan Eklöf, “Every city and every street is visible a long way out in the cosmic darkness, which is perhaps one of the most obvious signs that we have entered a new era: the Anthropocene, the time of humans.” In The Darkness Manifesto: On Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms that Sustain Life (Simon & Schuster, 2023), Eklöf describes how our addiction to nighttime illumination is problematic for many planetary species, and ultimately entire ecosystems, requiring a holistic reconsideration of outdoor lighting.

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