Light pollution: A case study in framing an environmental problem

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Light pollution is a topic gaining importance and acceptance in environmental discourse. This concept provides a framework for categorizing the adverse effects of nighttime lighting, which advocacy groups and regulatory efforts are increasingly utilizing. However, the ethical significance of the concept has, thus far, received little critical reflection. In this paper, I analyze the moral implications of framing issues in nighttime lighting via the concept of light pollution. First, the moral and political importance of problem framing is discussed. Next, the origins and contemporary understandings of light pollution are presented. Finally, the normative limitations and practical ambiguities of light pollution are discussed, with the aim of strengthening the framework through which decisions about urban nighttime lighting strategies are increasingly approached.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalEthics, Policy & Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Light Pollution
  • Nighttime Lighting
  • Night Sky
  • Darkness
  • Problem Framing


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