Adapted from Paul Bogard, “Let There be Dark.” 2012 by the Los Angeles Times. Originally published December 21, 2012.
At my family’s cabin on a Minnesota lake, I knew woods so dark that my hands disappeared bore my eyes. I knew night skies in which meteors lt smoky trails across sugary spreads of stars. But now, when 8 of 10 children born in the United States will never know a sky dark enough for the Milky Way, I worry we are rapidly losing night’s natural darkness bore realizing its worth. This winter solstice, as we cheer the days’ gradual movement back toward light, let us also remember the irreplaceable value of darkness.
All life evolved to the steady rhythm of bright days and dark nights. Today, though, when we feel the closeness of nightfall, we reach quickly for a light switch. And too little darkness, meaning too much artificial light at night, spells trouble for all.
Already the World Health Organization classifies working the night shift as a probable human carcinogen, and the American Medical Association has voiced its unanimous support for “light pollution reduction forts and glare reduction forts at both the national and state levels.” Our bodies need darkness to produce the hormone melatonin, which keeps certain cancers from developing, and our bodies need darkness for sleep.
Sleep disorders have been linked to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression, and recent research suggests one main cause of “short sleep” is “long light.”Whether we work at night or simply take our tablets, notebooks and smart phones to bed, there isn’t a place for this much artificial light in our lives.
The rest of the world depends on darkness as well, including nocturnal and crepuscular species of birds, insects, mammals, fish and reptiles. Some examples are well known—the400 species of birds that migrate at night? in North America, the sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs—and some are not, such as the bats that save American farmers billions in pest control and the moths that pollinate 80% of the world’s flora. Ecological light pollution is like the bulldozer of the night, wrecking habitat and disrupting ecosystems several billion years in the making. Simply put, without darkness, Earth’s ecology would collapse.
In today’s crowded, louder, more fast-paced world, night’s darkness can provide solitude, quiet and stillness, qualities increasingly in short supply. Every religious tradition has considered darkness invaluable for a soulful life, and the chance to witness the universe has inspired artists, philosophers and everyday stargazers since time began. In a world awash with electric light. . . how would Van Gogh have given the world his “Starry Night”? Who knows what this vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?
Yet all over the world, our nights are growing brighter. In the United States and Western Europe, the amount of light in the sky increases an average of about 6% every year. Computer images of the United States at night, based on NASA photographs, show that what was a very dark country as recently as the 1950s is now nearly covered with a blanket of light. Much of this light is wasted energy, which means wasted dollars. Those of us over 35 are perhaps among the last generation to have known truly dark nights. Even the northern lake where I was lucky to spend my summers has seen its darkness diminish.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Light pollution is readily within our ability to solve, using new lighting technologies and shielding existing lights. Already, many cities and towns across North America and Europe are changing to LED streetlights, which offer dramatic possibilities for controlling wasted light. Other communities are finding success with simply turning off portions of their public lighting after midnight. Even Paris, the famed “city of light,” which already turns of fits monument lighting after 1 a.m., will this summer start to require its shops, offices and public buildings to turn off lights after 2 a.m. Though primarily designed to save energy, such reductions in light will also go far in addressing light pollution. But we will never truly address the problem of light pollution until we become aware of the irreplaceable value and beauty of the darkness we are losing.
Assignment: Write an essay in which you explain how Paul Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience that natural darkness should be preserved. In your essay, analyze how Bogard uses one or more of the features listed in the box above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage.
Your essay should not explain whether you agree with Bogard’s claims, but rather explain how Bogard builds an argument to persuade his audience.
a) The descriptive words used in this sentence add visual intensity, evoking the wonder of the night sky.作者是如何使用词汇来突出文章的画面感。
b) The writer chooses his words carully in this paragraph in order to shape readers’ perceptions and bolster his claims. For example, he argues that we are using too much light when less needed by rerring to light being “wasted.” He also suggests how easily the problem of light pollution might be addressed, using “simply” to describe what“other communities” are doing.作者是如何选择词汇来加强自己的论证，同时说服读者相信自己的观点。
The writer uses this statistic as evidence to inform his subsequent claim that we “are rapidly losing night’s natural darkness.作者是如何使用数据作为论据引出下面他的观点的。
The writer continues to draw ?on evidence from the authorities cited above. He uses this evidence to inform his subsequent point ?that “whether we work at night or simply take our . . . smartphones to bed, there isn’t a place for this much artificial light in our lives.”作者是如何展开论证，使得整篇文章连为一体，整体联会贯通。
The presentation of facts and evidence supports the claim that follows at the end of the paragraph that “without darkness, Earth’s ecology would collapse.”作者如何使用合适和相关的论据来支持自己的观点。
a) The writer compares light pollution to the fects of a “bulldozer,” a machine that can be used to ravage land. This imagery dramatizes the destructive potential of light pollution.作者是如何使用类比修辞来强调自己的论点。
b) The use of rhetorical questions encourages the reader to consider a world without Van Gogh’s beloved painting and what Van Gogh’s vision inspires in us all. The suggestion of a world without such artistry and the notion that darkness is “invaluable to a soulful life” are also designed to evoke an emotional reaction in the reader. 作者是如何使用假设来强调自己的论点。