Sometimes, we can literally love something to death. Lighting our shores so we can see the honu (turtles) and other creatures we love so much actually disorients them, resulting in reduced breeding and actual deaths.
Lighting up the beaches, and even lighting near beaches, keeps egg-bearing females from coming on shore to nest. Those that do brave the lights and lay their eggs become confused by the lights and often head inland, thinking that they are following the reflection of the moon on the sea, getting hit by cars as they cross roads, or becoming stranded inland. When the hatchlings make their way from their sandy nest, too often they suffer the same fate.
For such a high impact problem, the solution is simple and inexpensive. The Leilani Kai Resort and the Kealia Resort are among the properties working to provide a honu safe environment. When the shoreline is safe for honu, it’s safe for other creatures as well.
Shoreline Lighting Guidelines
- Turn off beachfront lighting during the nesting and hatching season – May-December in Hawai’i.
- Use motion-sensor security lighting to keep lighting off when not needed. Not only does this help the honu, but it saves energy and money, and is actually more secure than leaving the lights on.
- Draw curtains closed at dusk if the windows face beaches or shorelines. You canʻt see out that well, anyway, unless your interior lighting is at a lower level than the ambient light outside.
- Lower, shield, recess, or redirect light sources near the shoreline.
- Use the fewest possible and lowest wattage possible outdoor lights. This saves energy and money, too.
- Replace existing lights with lower wavelength lights. Low pressure sodium vapor lamps (pure yellow light) and yellow incandescent light “bug lights” work well. Just keep the buglights at a low wattage.
- AVOID: fluorescent, mercury vapor, high-pressure sodium vapor, metal halide and white incandescent lighting.