Let plants lead the way!
So what do you know, the scientists out there have come up with a way of adding a bioluminescent element to plant life and trees and are marketing it as a way to light our streets.
On first reading about this I was fairly intrigued, free light from something which is already part of our street scape is definitely a good idea. However what about the more technical aspects and the effect on the plants and their wellbeing?
Is it a good idea to mess with nature in such a way? Will the trees mutate after a time and perhaps glow less or more? Will it affect the photosynthesis as the tree is giving out light even when it’s trying to sleep? Will it therefore grow more quickly due to the added potential boost to its “daylight” like hours?
So many questions and that’s just on the environmental issues for the plant itself.
Then we move onto the lighting aspect. Of course who ever thought of this has no idea what goes into lighting a street, meeting standards or general health and safety aspects of why and how we light.
We would not be able to control light (can’t see dimmers on trees working out too well), direct it or shield windows for areas which didn’t require lighting. It would be impossible to design with it as you couldn’t really photometer the tree to get data on its output and each one would be different. So the actual lighting design element of a road lighting scheme would be impossible to achieve. Therefore BS compliance is not achievable.
Health and safety wise it then leaves the Councils who look after such things wide open for litigation as they may be seen to be ignoring basic requirements for public safety on the highway. The list of issues is endless.
However having said all of that in some areas such as a parks or gardens it might be a wonderful idea (presuming no harm comes to the plants when making them glow). Free ambient lighting, which perhaps might mean areas could be lit that otherwise wouldn’t meet the criteria or might have trouble getting power to the location, is indeed an intriguing option. Or perhaps using it for Christmas trees in people’s homes?
Do you think this idea has legs? What uses can you see for it and what are the pitfalls?