Fireflies see the Light

When was the last time you saw a firefly?

In his short novel “The Survival of the Fireflies”, Pier Paulo Pasolini describes them: “They manage to light and shine, and to flicker for the human being, they show us a new path, a new point of view… on the secret of who we really are…”

His novel is an alegoric document about fear. Fear of war, of violence, of chaos, all that arise from the human behavior. In order to escape from this devastating fear of darkness, humans turn on too much lights. Lights everywhere. So much light, that we end up in a world of light pollution, a world that has no place for fireflies.


The flickering light of the fireflies has been fading out in recent years. Throughout the world, from the rivers of Southeast Asia to the European forests, the fireflies are disappearing. It happens because of light pollution – the artificial light that floods more and more land as a result of the ever expanding civilization. The oblivious and careless human use of nature’s resources prevents fireflies from flying and interferes with their mating process. Moreover, the depletion of vegetation and winter puddles, the favorite habitat of the fireflies, diminishes the chance for future generations to develop, while chemical fertilizers and pesticides kill the present generation.

The lost fireflies are not just an allegory, a nostalgic look on what we used to have. Pasolini uses them to shine light on the arrogance of the human race, on our lack of modesty, on our inability to internalize the aesthetic value of less is more.

Artificial light silences the light of the fireflies. The fireflies appear only where the light and the darkness harmoniously coexis

So, when was the last time you saw a firefly?