Supporting the Sciences of Life and Light through the Arts for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation.

The Mission and its Purpose

Our 501 c(3) Mission, ‘Supporting the Sciences of Life and Light through the Arts for Animal Welfare and Wildlife Conservation,’ describes the purpose of The Zoological Lighting Institute best. Our work aims to protect animals and the communities that depend upon them by engaging with the environmental challenges raised by the Photo-Sciences. We work upon the critical but under-attended arena of light insofar as it affects living things.

The ‘Sciences‘ simply refer to the honesty of allowing critical thinking and progress to guide judgements, so that effective actions can be pursued to achieve goals. The ‘Arts,’ whether of cultural heritage or modern in character, provide necessary perspectives on the questions that one might pose within the sciences.

‘Animal Welfare’ is an important objective, not only for the sake of living things themselves (although this is important), but for human psychological and community well-being as well. Caring for animals means caring for the animals in our vicinity, such as in aquariums, zoos or as pets in our homes, but it also means caring for animals that exist freely. Wild animals have the added value of contributing to the ecosystems that all humans need to survive. Without wildlife, there is no life. ‘Luminous Habitat’ Conservation is an imperative part of ‘wildlife conservation,’ because natural light is an integral requirement of the biology for all species on earth.

As an active partner within the U.N. Decade on Biodiversity (seeking to help achieve the Aichi Targets), and advocate of thoughtful animal welfare helping WAZA and other zoos follow their stated missions in an ignored arena, The Zoological Lighting Institute seeks the good in life for life.

The Organization and its Purpose

A ‘good’ organization helps any charity achieve its goals effectively. A ‘good’ organization actively pursues diversity and inclusion, as a catalyst for equity and health. A ‘good’ organization recognizes that there are many legitimate perspectives on important issues, and so seeks to facilitate active dialogue while staunchly defending established facts. A ‘good’ organization also acts based upon verified information and encourages others to do so as well. Our new Department Organization has been created to do just that, and offers many opportunities for you to participate in.

The Photo-Sciences Department Enhances Knowledge

The Film & Media Department Empowers Communities

The Education Department Creates Opportunities

The Sustainable Design Department Creates Change

On Animal Welfare and Zoos: A Plea for Change

A zoo cannot be a ‘good’ zoo if it does not strive to meet the habitat needs of the animals it cares for, and natural light is habitat. It is that simple. Without scientific attention to light and light qualities over time, husbandry and conservation efforts suffer. Light, along with water, soil, foliage and food all must be accounted for properly for reasonable animal welfare to be maintained. Natural light is fundamental.

No solution addressing any animal needs will ever be perfect, neither in well meaning animal care nor even for heroic wildlife conservation initiatives but we can do better.

Measuring the light cycles of a zoo exhibit is a necessary aspect of even minimal animal care. Proper light management in an aquarium or zoos is NOT about buying a perfect light bulb. This is because natural light changes constantly. It has very many characteristics far beyond the qualities of spectrum, intensity and energy consumption. As a kind of radiation, important factors also include shape, distribution, sequence, density and direction (polarization). Each of these parameters can be thought of and addressed within S.P.I.D.E.R. programs (in addition to better exhibit design), and are vital to improved animal welfare.

ONLY The Zoological Lighting Institute™ currently advocates the proper measurement of light in aquariums & zoos for animal welfare and for conservation. Science matters, and animal husbandry is poor husbandry without attention to light. Our goal is to help aquariums and zoos become good zoos, and address a fundamental lapse across the industry. Science allows for understanding as to what an animal needs, and what will alleviate the difficulties he or she experiences in its role as ambassador for the natural world. Without science, without data-driven assessments of a particular exhibit and a particular animal, animal welfare suffers through ignorance. People used to give animals candy and well meaning ‘treats,’ until science showed them how to do better. That is our goal, to introduce the sciences of light and life to aquariums and zoos across the globe because currently, animals are living on an equivalent diet of luminescent candy.

The connection of better animal welfare to wildlife conservation is uniquely strengthened through the sciences of light and life, as understanding developed in a measured exhibit translates to more effective conservation initiatives. The conservation work of aquariums and zoos is both amazing and in need of adjustment to include light related challenges. Artificial night lighting and the ‘de-naturalization’ of the environment (deforestation and hard-scape (glass, asphalt etc…)) represent two of the biggest threats to biodiversity today. Yet precious few advocates are addressing them, despite the certainty of dangers that scientists repeatedly point out.

The Zoological Lighting Institute™ has been organized to support existing and new scientific studies in the sciences of light and life, to make this science available to the public, and to see that landscape development, architecture and animal care decisions refer to it when planning for life, now and in the future. Artificial night lighting has been shown to affect mood disorders, contribute to diabetes and to raise cancer rates in humans, as well as the animals that we share the world with. The ‘Insect-Apocalypse’ in no small way suffers from the un-natural attractions that artificial night lighting produces, drawing not only moths to the flame but nearly 80% of their kin as well. De-naturalization too has led not only to destructive habitat loss as well, but also to the direct death of literally billions of birds to due the inevitable collisions with the glass windows that unthinking architecture features. Today’s donated funds help decision makers understand the issues, encouraging their own exemplary solutions.

We have created the PhotoDiversity Concept to link natural light diversity to habitat diversity and so to biodiversity, as well as to stress importance of what community health, safety and welfare really means. The Arts are important to our endeavors, not least of which are their ability to bind communities and offer critical perspectives so that science does not become dogmatic. Committed to diversity and inclusion, ZLI creates community leaders for the next generation and uniquely advances holistic scientific thinking amongst nonprofits.

Please support us today and join our community, all are welcome!

Photo-Sciences
Film & Media
Education
Sustainable Design
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