The Darkness Manifesto – #bookreview

The Darkness Manifesto by Johan Eklof

The Darkness Manifesto is a well-researched book on the effects of our ever-increasing love of artificial light on our world. I was aware of the effect of light pollution on our night skies and have seen several studies on the need for humans to maintain their circadian rhythms but I had no idea about the implications for wildlife. Even basic information that bats and moths are important pollinators was new to me.

The author is a bat scientist and there is a heavy emphasis on bats during the book but also on birds and other creatures such as coral . I found the book to be extremely informative and it certainly made me aware of issues that I had not previously thought of. It was probably especially apt to read this over the Christmas and New Year period when our towns and homes are all illuminated even more than usual. I love seeing all the lights and enjoy seeing buildings such as old churches lit up without ever having thought of the wider implications before.

The facts and figures that he quotes are unbelievable. I had never really thought about moths as pollinators but they are as important as bees. The dangers of pesticides to bees and sudden colony deaths are quite widely known but this is the first time that I have read anything about the devastating effects of artificial light on moths and insects. The author tells us that the number of insect species is decreasing by 3% every year and so the disruptive effects of light on them becomes even more important.

He also looks at the effects on humans of the tendency to live in a world which is never dark and some of the figures that he quotes about hormone based cancers are quite scary.

The book is very research heavy and at times, I found it to be quite disjointed and lacking a strong narrative flow. There were several times when he cited a specific incident or piece of research and then just moved straight onto something else when I expected that he would discuss this further.

I did enjoy reading this and certainly learned a lot from it. It is obviously an important issue and  I especially liked the final part which is his Darkness Manifesto, a series of simple actions that anyone can do.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Darkness Manifesto was published by Random House UK in November 2022.

This is my first read for the Non Fiction Reader Challenge 2023


Author: Janette

Recently retired Ex-Assistant Head of a large primary school in Leicestershire although I seem to be in school teaching quite a bit still.

13 thoughts on “The Darkness Manifesto – #bookreview”

  1. Such an interesting topic. I’ve noticed that I can’t get my bedroom as dark as I’d like, even with heavy curtains. It seems like my suburb is getting lighter all the time. Cloudy nights are the worst because the city lights just bounce off of them.

  2. I was aware of light pollution because I live in a high-rise. Birds are frequently flying into my window because my lights are on. The book sounds intriguing and is on my wish list.

  3. That is interesting about the effects of light pollution on insects. When I worked for the National Parks, we did a lot of work for the Dark Skies program by purchasing “night sky” acceptable lighting for all the buildings so each park could be designated as a Night Sky park. It’s nice to be able to see the stars clearly.

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