As part of a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Ecopsychology on defining ecotherapy and its use to address mental health issues, researchers from British Columbia, led by Sean Frey, published qualitative research that explored the healing experiences participants had in natural darkness (ND) as part of the overnight recollective practices they engaged in.
Light pollution can be understood as a symptom and consequence of many modern societies’ preference for nighttime light, leading to the night being a less restful natural cycle. It has gained attention because of its adverse effects on non-human animals and plants. These include altering migration patterns and affecting feeding, foraging, hunting, hiding, communicating, reproducing, and growing.
While artificial light at night has allowed humans to reduce accidents, prevent crime, and increase productivity, such increases in light pollution, with 80% of the human population being impacted, have correlated with increases in sleep disorders, obesity rates, depressive symptoms, and cancer. The authors discuss some of this in the context of human history and the meaning of nighttime light: