So you thought cannabis was only an aesthetic blight during the day?
Just when you thought you could at least get some peace at night:
GLOWING GREENHOUSES (Glow Worms) LIGHT UP RURAL HILLS
Coming Soon to Sonoma County
Concerns about the lights vary. Many rural residents are worried about environmental issues ranging from the light creating problems for animals that are nocturnal hunters to the light impacting the night skies making it more difficult to view the stars. Others are concerned about lights shining in their homes and the generators that power them disturbing their quiet neighborhoods.
Keegan said, “The whole phenomenon of light pollution was not taken seriously until the last decade.” But, he said, scientist have become increasingly concerned as they’ve looked into the situation.
Keegan particularly worries that the large number of greenhouses lighting up the dark will affect nighttime pollinators such as moths. He worries that the glow will attract moths and other insects. “If they are out there chasing that light, they are not being pollinators,” Keegan explained. This can disrupt natural processes and possibly change our local ecology.
Keegan says the number of greenhouses uncovered appear to have slightly decreased in his neighborhood this year. However, in March 2013, as the following light map shows, there were few lights showing beyond those found in towns.
Possibly of the most importance to the actual grower is that having a light source provides a beacon to the greenhouse and the light itself is illegal. According to Humboldt County regulations “cultivators using artificial lighting for mixed-light cultivation shall shield greenhouses so that little to no light escapes. Light shall not escape at a level that is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise.”
According to a spokesperson for the Humboldt County Planning Department, “The Planning and Building Department line is the best contact for light complaints…”
(Note: The creator of the video who doesn’t want to be named says that he attached a soundtrack that begins with the sound of an electric transformer and moves to Nasa’s Symphonies of the Planets.)
Many, if not most, greenhouse owners cover their lights but, the glow from the ones who don’t continues to frustrate rural neighborhoods.
Earlier Chapters about Greenhouse Lights:
- In Defense of the Stars: The Use of “Mixed-light” Greenhouses Is Changing our Night Skies and May Be Altering our Nocturnal Ecology
- Night Sky Lights Up During Spring in the Emerald Counties
Some issues with hoop houses
The plastic will surely tear during strong winds (ever more common now due to climate change). It will both litter the landscape as well as go into landfills. California has banned plastic grocery bags and plastic straws- this is much worse!
2) Plastic flapping in the wind is noisy.
3) Use of hoop houses over the large ‘outdoor’ cultivation area now allows 2-3 harvests/year, vs one if only outdoor. Thus water usage increases- instead of 6x more water usage per acre of vineyards, it now can be 12-18 x more water usage.
4) The additional electrical usage (even if solar) creates fire hazards in high fire risk areas.
5) With addition of electricity, these should require building permits approved by Permit Sonoma. The cannabis industry proposed in their March 2020 initiative that hoop houses not require building permits and be ag-exempt structures. This is what they will be under the new chapter 38.
6) Although ‘little to no light’ is supposed to escape, we know that enforcement is almost non-existent. We will see ‘glow worms’ at night.
7) And of course there is the visual blight to our landscapes.