2009-04-02 / Editorial


Night lights and cleaning up our island's shoreline

Earth Hour gained global attention this past Saturday evening as people around the world turned off their lights for one hour to "vote for the Earth."

More than 1,000 cities in 80 countries went dark from Hong Kong to Boston. Even the skyscrapers flipped their light switches, leaving only the blinking red aerial navigation lights illuminated at top.

Lights were turned off here in Jamestown and across the bay in Newport.

It was a good thing to see. There was a noticeable difference in the ambiant light in the night sky, although cloud cover prevented any stargazing.

Kudos to our good neighbors at the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority who participated in Earth Hour. The necklace lights on the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge and the Mount Hope Bridge were shut off from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The deck lights, also known as street lights, on both bridges remained lighted due to safety reasons, bridge officials said.

This was the second year for Earth Hour and the participation has grown dramatically.

Earth Hour helps to make us aware that we really don't need all those lights on outside at night. We can turn off many lights and save money at our residences and businesses and in our towns and cities. We'll also be helping the planet by reducing the amount of energy consumed and thereby pumping less carbon into our environment.

Then there is the "light pollution." Fewer lights at night will mean that we can see a few more of those beautiful stars and planets in the heavens above.

In the municipal budget discussions now underway, the Jamestown Town Council has considered reducing the number of street lamps lighted in an effort to save money. The town council should also look into replacing the necessary street and exterior building lights with low-energy consumption bulbs.

While we are on the subject of doing good things for our planet, be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Island Shoreline Cleanup, which will be held on Saturday, April 18, to celebrate Earth Day.

Each year islanders turn out to pick up the trash, garbage, debris, flotsam and jetsam that litter the shoreline of Conanicut Island. Bring the kids! It only takes a few hours of your time and the island looks so much better afterwards.

The event is sponsored by the Jamestown Conservation Commission and the Conanicut Island Land Trust. Work begins at 8:30 a.m. and is usually completed around noon when brautwurst and cold drinks are served for the volunteers.

— Jeff McDonough

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