Perceptions of Personal Lighting Devices and Associated Behaviors: Shifting Personal Norms and Behavior for Broader Conservation Actions

Morgan Crump, Brendan Derrick Taff, Elizabeth A. Himschoot, Jennifer Newton, Adam Beeco, Peter Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthropogenic light impacts both wildlife and human well-being, and national parks are some of the only remaining large swaths of land where natural dark skies remain. Over the past two decades, a significant amount of science has contributed both to our understanding of these impacts and to engineering advances to reduce negative lighting effects. This has resulted in changes to lighting infrastructure in some national parks, and growth in Dark Sky Certification for many protected areas globally. To date, changing infrastructure, such as street and parking lot lighting, to less intrusive hues and intensities or removing lights altogether have been some of the sustainable changes made in these areas. This study advances our understanding of lighting issues by examining national park visitors’ perceptions of personal lighting use (e.g., headlamps). Specifically, this study explores camper and mountaineer perceptions of personal lighting devices and their impact on social and ecological systems in Grand Teton National Park, USA. During peak visitation in the summer of 2023, 17 mountaineer interviews and 16 general camper interviews took place in the park at night. Results indicate that campers and mountaineers are largely unaware of anthropogenic light impacts on wildlife and humans. However, once informed, they are willing to change their behaviors and reduce the use of personal lighting devices and use more wildlife-friendly lighting with amber or red settings (which, to date, are just emerging and available for general consumers by several companies). These results provide insights for developing educational strategies and personal lighting engineering designs that will ultimately lead to more sustainable normative shifts capable of reducing anthropogenic lighting impacts in parks and beyond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1871
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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