Reducing Light Pollution by Planting Glowing Trees

Reducing Light Pollution by Planting Glowing Trees

Yes, you read that right, trees can glow!

It seems as though one of The Netherlands’ very own artists/designers/architects, Daan Roosegaarde, created a wave of experimentation in the science world back in 2014.

His light-emitting (fake)tree installations are still inspiring scientists all over the world today. The clever team of scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed technology that may soon see our homes, workplaces and streets lit completely by plants and trees.

“What happens when technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of the things that we wear and the roads that we drive on?” Roosegaarde explains in the video above.

Light pollution around the world

Ever wondered why it’s so hard to see stars in the night sky when you’re in the city? Light pollution is the reason.

According to the World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, “80% of the world’s population lives under skyglow” (skyglow is a term referring to the haziness artificial light projects into the night sky).

The high use of artificial light in our major cities is dramatically affecting our environment, whilst also impairing our view of the universe up above.

“Less than 100 years ago, everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky. Now, millions of children across the globe will never experience the Milky Way where they live”, a disturbing fact as mentioned on International Dark Sky’s website.

This interative NASA Blue Marble Navigator map shows where light pollution is most dense. You’ll be shocked to see how much artificial light some of these countries are pumping out.

Glowing plants - how is this even possible?

Experts discovered that injecting the enzyme called luciferase into the leaves of trees and plants causes the living organisms to produce a dim light. This same chemical is active in fireflies, jellyfish and mushrooms, and is the reason why they shine at night time.

Check out this video to discover how it’s possible for plants to grow and why MIT engineers believe that, with further development, plants will one day be bright and strong enough to light entire interior and exterior spaces.

Although the test plants could only shine light for four hours, there are plans in place to continue to develop the technology.

“The MIT team believes it can boost the light emitted, as well as the duration of light, by further optimising the concentration and release rates of the chemical components”, as mentioned in The Space Academy’s article MIT Just Created Living Plants That Glow Like A Lamp, And Could Grow Glowing Trees To Replace Streetlights.

We’re looking forward to a future where we rely less on electricity and unsustainable technology, and care more for our beautiful Mother Earth.

In The Not So Distant Future, Glow-In-The-Dark Trees Could Replace Street Lights
Glowing trees could be used "instead of street lighting" says Daan Roosegaarde
MIT Just Created Living Plants That Glow Like A Lamp, And Could Grow Glowing Trees To Replace Streetlights
Light Pollution