We used to depend on the sun and the moon for light until we harnessed fire. With fire, night became a time to work, to laugh, and to learn. Later industrialization allowed us to illuminate our roads and buildings on an unprecedented scale; light became a commodity, taken for granted. Although we knew, we easily forgot that light originated from the sun. We forgot that light had been in a delicate balance with darkness for millions of years before the lightbulb. We forgot what stars look like on a dark night sky.
Recently we have learned more about the role light plays in biology. Light is crucial to bone development, moods, and stable circadian rhythms. Suddenly, the idea of light as a commodity is threatened. A global economy, energy scarcity, and emerging research all necessitate increasing expertise in the application of light.
If lighting professionals don’t make a stand, the wrong people could be making the decisions about how we use our light–like politicians. Lighting experts need to share their knowledge with each other and with the public. We need these experts to unite and lobby congress for more evidence-based laws governing the use of light. If we take the initiative early, we can ensure decisions about lighting legislation are made by certifiable experts. It is time we once again revere the timeless balance of light and dark.