It is with the aim of saving seabirds that, on October 30th, a thousand street lamps will go out in Madeira between 8 pm and 11 pm, the most critical time, when juvenile shearwaters leave their nests.

As explained, this is an initiative of the Noite Com Vida campaign, by the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), organized with the help of the partner municipalities of the LIFE Natura@night project.

This time, a lamp will stop shining for every €10 of donations raised in this campaign, which aims to show the impact of excessive artificial light on these birds.

Furthermore, the organization also invites Madeirans to join this initiative, turning off the outdoor lighting in their homes and buildings during this mega-blackout or, to save even more birds, turning off or reducing outdoor lighting between October 15th and November 15th.

“With this blackout, for one night we will create a safe path in the sky so that birds can fly towards the sea safely. But more than that, we will demonstrate how reducing excessive artificial lighting can save birds”, explained Elisa Teixeira from SPEA Madeira.

According to the organization, “every year, in Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands, light pollution causes hundreds of juvenile seabirds to become dazzled, falling to the ground and potentially being injured or even killed”.

“In an attempt to raise some of the funding needed to save these birds and reduce light pollution, SPEA launched the Noite Com Vida fundraising campaign last winter, as part of the LIFE Natura@night project, which seeks to study and reduce negative impacts of light pollution in Macaronesia”, can be read in the same note.

“Light pollution affects not only birds, but also countless other species and even human health. 99% of people in Europe and the US live under night skies that are brighter than they would be naturally. This continuous exposure to light affects vital processes, with greater light at night reducing the production of the hormone melatonin, leading to problems such as sleep deprivation, fatigue, headaches, stress and anxiety and even, according to some scientific studies, increased the risk of some cancers such as breast and prostate”, he adds.
“This Mega-Blackout is a way of making light pollution visible, and raising awareness of the importance of studying its impact and working with municipalities and companies to implement more efficient, more appropriate and better-directed public lighting”, adds Domingos Leitão, Executive Director of SPEA.

Until November 5th, the Save a Seabird Campaign is still running, in which SPEA volunteers and technicians travel the island in search of birds that need help to reach the sea.

From Jornal Madeira