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Texas’s bright idea

26 April, 2024

Did you know that two billion birds migrate through Texas each spring? That’s almost one in three birds migrating through the United States, and it’s not an easy journey.

Bright city lights are not bird friendly, posing one of the greatest hazards to birds travelling in large flocks, resulting in mass fatalities. While environmentalists have been urging large office buildings to switch off non-essential lighting at night, these requests have failed to capture public attention. That’s where Lights Out Texas’ comes in.

The campaign’s mission is simple: encourage businesses to switch off non-essential lighting from 11 pm to 6 am during spring and autumn migration season. Since its inception in 2020, the campaign has taken hold across the state – and it works. 57 Texan businesses confirmed participation in turning out lights at night for migrating birds and more generally researchers found a 60% decrease in bird mortality when lights are turned off.

And it’s not the first time Texas has nailed a game-changing campaign. The ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ campaign successfully slashed litter on Texas highways by 72% between 1987 and 1990.

Lights Out Texas shines a bright light on how behaviour change happens. It shows that folks are much more inclined to act when they feel a strong connection to the cause and can see their efforts paying off. So keep up the good work Texas!

By Meg Seckel

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