Turn off the lights

Today’s Small Step: Turn Off the Lights

Eco and emo? This one's for you.

If you don’t love bedtimes, listen up: There’s an ecological event called “Dark Nature” that benefits us and the planet.

“Dark Nature” is the term for ecological cycles that happen after sunset. It includes spotting nocturnal animals like bats and hedgehogs, hearing crickets and owl hoots after dark, and of course, stargazing.

A small joint study from the University of Michigan found that walking (safely) at night can promote feelings of calm and relaxation, along with a deeper connection to the natural world. It can help prepare your brain for better sleep, because it swaps LED screens for moonlight and the occasional streetlamp. And turning your outdoor lights off during dusk makes “dark nature” more visible—while also helping migratory birds navigate better. It can even save their lives.

Need an excuse? Mark your calendar for Friday, October 21, when the Orionid meteor shower (including debris from Halley’s Comet) hits its peak.