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The Necessity of Natural Darkness for Humans and Biodiversity

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Design for Health (UIA 2023)

Part of the book series: Sustainable Development Goals Series ((SDGS))

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Our daily rhythm consists of night and day—darkness and light. This cycle is fundamental to our circadian rhythm, and all life on the earth has evolved under these conditions for millions of years. But because humans are primarily active during the day, we tend to forget half of our reality: the night and the necessity of darkness. This inherent bias in our collective thinking lets us ignore the most basic relationship that natural darkness is as essential for our circadian rhythm and the functioning of ecosystems as natural light. Many do not consider how artificial light at night (ALAN) alters the natural cycle of light and darkness and how this disturbs nature's and human's biological rhythms. Instead, the emission of ALAN is increasing by up to 10% globally, turning relatively dark cities into bright lightscapes (Falchi and Bará Salvador 2023). This rapid and significant increase in ALAN has drastically disrupted the natural light and dark cycles, severely affecting nature and humans. ALAN also plays a positive role in our society. ALAN binds us together culturally, economically, and socially. It allows us to navigate streets, supports experiences of safety, and forms inviting urban spaces after sunset. This review explores the severe impacts of ALAN and demonstrates that to bridge the seemingly opposing needs, we must understand our connectedness with nature and how we, as well as nature, need natural darkness to sustain health and circadian rhythm.

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Correspondence to Lisbeth Dam Kørner .

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© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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Kørner, L.D. (2023). The Necessity of Natural Darkness for Humans and Biodiversity. In: Hasan, A., Benimana, C., Ramsgaard Thomsen, M., Tamke, M. (eds) Design for Health. UIA 2023. Sustainable Development Goals Series. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-36315-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-36316-0

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