Language needs to create emotional reactions in order to have impact. Psychologists tell us that emotion works with cognition, to help us with attention, retention and motivation. If the message doesn't resonate emotionally, people won't notice it, much less remember it or be moved to action.
That kind of struck me in terms of the way we discuss light pollution. What words are we using that have an emotional impact, so that people pay attention, retain what we say, and are motivated to change their own lighting/behaviors - or even more importantly, get involved? What phrases do we use so people will notice, remember, and be moved to action?
I would argue we are failing on this point. Although some in the lighting industry, and even larger businesses and some municipalities, are seeing the benefits of better lighting techniques and implementing them, the growth of light pollution has continued, largely because those who do NOT know about poor lighting techniques keep putting up bad lights which contribute to the problem. 99% of lighting fixtures I see available in home improvement stores do not shield light properly.
As LED lighting costs come down, we are going to lose the ability to talk about lighting in terms of cost, as the electricity required to run them is even less than incandescent / other types of lighting. Fortunately, they are directional, but only if we MAKE THAT POINT, and get it to STAY in people's minds, are we going to make a difference. Otherwise, there will be brighter and more LED lights out there, lighting up the night even more than what we have now.
What phrases can we come up with that will create short, memorable, emotionally-powerful messages to get our argument into the public sphere? Any ideas we can use to drive this message home more effectively?
Should we focus on sleep? Safety? Security? Crime? All of the above, but in a coordinated way? How can we craft our message so it is emotionally-charged, and therefore, memorable?