Green Lighting – Disorient a Turtle, Go to Jail

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Turtle-Friendly Lighting:

It’s easier than doing time

on a federal or state rap

It’s no longer a level playing field.

First you work hard to a build a business that offers quality lighting fixtures for your customers.

Then ENERGY STAR and CFL luminaire come along, and your customers want to know about these energy-saving bulbs – driven to you by the massive promotional noise waged by every company waving spiral bulbs in their faces while uttering the magical incantation “global warming” – and your customers expect you to educate them for free.

Then, just as the majority of your customers are finally catching on to the main benefit of CFL bulbs (“saves money!”), LEDs show up to become the newest new kid on the block.

And mixed into all of this is you carefully guiding your customers to appropriate lighting solutions for their lighting needs.

But now, it seems that every time you try to make a move, some guy in a trench coat taps you on the shoulder in a low-key but strong voice and says, “These guys, see, they’re under my organization’s protection.” And you didn’t even know you were treading on anyone’s toes.

Protection: It’s A Global Racket

Sea turtles are some of the guys benefiting from the worldwide environmental protection racket. The disorientation of sea turtles by artificial lights is a violation of US federal and state laws. Disorient a sea turtle, go to jail:

  • On the global level, you have the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network.
  • On the United States national level, this means the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
  • On the US state level, 13 states and one territory that have their own protection programs also have agreements to cooperate with the Endangered Species Act: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington

To give you a taste, here’s fine print from the 2006 Florida Statutes, Chapter 370.12 (known as the Marine Turtle Protection Act) that’s relevant to beach lighting:



Definition of “take”: an act that actually kills or injures marine turtles, and includes significant habitat modification or degradation that kills or injures marine turtles by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering.

The offense: Knowingly take, disturb, mutilate, destroy, cause to be destroyed, transfer, sell, offer to sell, molest, or harass any marine turtles or the eggs or nest of any marine turtles

The penalty: Any person, firm, or corporation that illegally takes, disturbs, mutilates, destroys, causes to be destroyed, transfers, sells, offers to sell, molests, or harasses any marine turtle species, or the eggs or nest of any marine turtle species as described in this subsection, commits a third degree felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

In Florida, a third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years probation, and a $5,000 fine. What a racket.

What Do Turtles Have To Do With Beach Lighting?

Okay, so you’re probably wondering, This is about making turtle steak and soup and omelets or turning them into fancy dancy sunglass frames and illegal exports, right? How in the world is this relevant to lighting near the beach?

Lighting that intrudes into nesting areas is considered loss of habitation, and interferes with the behavioral pattern in mothers during breeding and returning to the ocean. This light also adversely affects the cute little hatchlings who get lost trying to get to the ocean, and end up as hors d’oeuvres for ghost crabs and fire ants or just plain drying out and dying out. Poor little things!

Maybe you’re thinking, The Florida section above on The Offense says “Knowingly take.” What if I claim not to know? That might work as well as driving without a license in an unregistered, uninsured, uninspected car.

Maybe you’re thinking, I don’t have time to learn the specifics on how to comply. There is a ton of information out there. What do I need to know and where do I find it?

The Bad News:

The Law Doesn’t Tell What You Need To Know

Dig into the fine print and you find that the law: protects certain turtle species, hands out credentials for people to mess around with the turtles, defines generally what constitutes a violation, and gives possible consequences you might face if convicted.

Take a quick look again at that fine print above and ask yourself, Where do I find this crucial information:

  • which artificial lights are least disruptive?
  • which incandescent lamps are acceptable – and which are not?
  • how to specify lamps by manufacturer, trade name, lamp type, and wattage?
  • which fixtures work best and where, and how you specify them

The law is moot on each point.

The Worse News:

Here Is What You Need To Read To Find Out

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection released a 82-page highly technical report in 1996 called Understanding, Assessing, and Resolving Light-Pollution Problems on Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches. Mighty thorough. Mighty scientific. And mighty technical.

How scientific and technical?

  • If you like reading Scientific American, you’ll find this extremely sexy
  • The section on nesting and hatchling orientation goes on for 13 eye-straining pages
  • The list of literature cited goes on for 6 pages
  • The authors themselves are major-league experts in sea turtles
  • The report served as the basis for Florida’s Marine Turtle Protection Act

Finally, The Good News:

Here Is What You Need To Know

We read its 82 pages and summed up its findings in a single page. And we used a second page to compile notes to get you to the parts of this report you need to know lightning fast when you need to know them, including:

  • Artificial lighting grouped by level of turtle disruption (report page 37)
  • Light fixtures suitable for use near sea turtle-nesting beaches – including manufacturer, trade name, lamp type, and lamp wattage (page 41)
  • 7 diagrams showing solutions to common lighting problems near beaches (page 56)
    · 27 easy-to-understand diagrams of lighting fixtures showing mounting position and suitability (page 49)
  • 18 frequently asked questions – and the practical, easy-to-understand answers (page 67)

Your 2-page guide compiles all 82 pages. You get:

  • An executive summary that distills their own 889-word executive summary into a few meaty relevant paragraphs
  • References for every section relevant to you as a lighting retailer serving lighting customers – just look for what you need and go to the page shown
  • The list of frequently asked questions, so you can quickly look up answers

Download your Guide and Technical Report Now:

Instead of reading the 82 pages of Technical Report FMRI TR-2, download A19’s two page guide.

How? Just go to the link below:

Source by Cinnamon Alvarez

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