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The Darkness Manifesto

Our Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms that Sustain Life

Read by Owen Findlay

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About The Book

Named a Best Book of 2023 by Scientific American

This timely and captivating look at the hidden impact of light pollution is “rich in revelation and insight…lyrical” (The Wall Street Journal) and urges us to cherish natural darkness for the sake of the environment, our own well-being, and all life on earth.

How much light is too much light? Satellite pictures show our planet as a brightly glowing orb, and in our era of constant illumination, light pollution has become a major issue. The world’s flora and fauna have evolved to operate in the natural cycle of day and night. But in the last 150 years, we have extended our day—and in doing so have forced out the inhabitants of the night and disrupted the circadian rhythms necessary to sustain all living things, including ourselves.

In this “well-researched and surprisingly lyrical” (The New Statesman, UK) book, Swedish conservationist Johan Eklöf urges us to appreciate natural darkness, its creatures, and its unique benefits. He ponders the beauties of the night sky, traces the errant paths of light-drunk moths and the swift dives of keen-eyed owls, and shows us the bioluminescent creatures of the deepest oceans. As a devoted friend of the night, Eklöf reveals the startling domino effect of diminishing darkness: insects, dumbfounded by streetlamps, failing to reproduce; birds blinded and bewildered by artificial lights; and bats starving as they wait in vain for insects that only come out in the dark. For humans, light-induced sleep disturbances impact our hormones and weight, and can contribute to mental health problems like chronic stress and depression. The streetlamps, floodlights, and neon signs of cities are altering entire ecosystems, and scientists are only just beginning to understand their long-term effects. The light bulb—long the symbol of progress and development—needs to be turned off.

“Urgent…vivid…eye-opening” (Publishers Weekly), and ultimately encouraging, The Darkness Manifesto outlines simple steps that we can take to benefit ourselves and the planet. In order to ensure a bright future, we must embrace the darkness.

About The Author

Photograph by Frida Winter

Johan Eklöf, PhD, is a Swedish bat scientist and writer, most known for his work on microbat vision and more recently, light pollution. He lives in the west of Sweden, where he works as a conservationist and copywriter. Eklöf has studied bats for almost twenty years and now has his own consultancy company, hired by authorities, wind companies, municipalities, city planners, and environmental organizations as an expert on bats, night ecology, and nature friendly lighting. The Darkness Manifesto is his second book to be translated into English.

About The Reader

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (February 14, 2023)
  • Runtime: 5 hours and 31 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797153919

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Raves and Reviews

"In this electrified era of ever-decreasing natural darkness, we lose animal habitats and disrupt human circadian rhythms. These changes have broad consequences, from increasing pesticide use to persistent sleep deprivation. Eklöf's manifesto is impassioned, well-researched, and compelling. Findlay's narration is ideally suited to the topic. His cadence is steady but engaging, and his warm tones convey curiosity, which keeps the listener engaged throughout. Practiced phrasing makes the scientific elements accessible to listeners and a clear translation of the author's passion makes the recording feel personal and creates an empathetic connection with the listener. Findlay, an actor of stage, radio, and screen, speaks in a English accent for this Swedish-authored title and ably handles non-English words. A fine and enjoyable recording on an important but often overlooked topic, this is a worthy addition to popular science audio collections."

– Heather Booth, Booklist

"...[Findlay's] resonant voice is pleasing to the ear, and his clear enunciation and ease with French, Italian, and German words are impressive. In all, a powerful argument for making small changes to create a more natural world."

– AudioFile Magazine

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