Individual Efforts Lead to Dark Sky Communities – How You Can Help Combat Light Pollution

Communities

A recent story in Miller-McCune mentioned a coalition of six individuals who worked diligently to win the community of Borrego Springs, California a Dark Sky Community designation this summer. The resort town has promised to protect the dark skies of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The park is a unique location where the Milky Way can still be viewed at night. Borrego Springs and its 2,500 citizens became the second International Dark Sky Community in the world, signifying that their stewardship of the desert extended also to the sky zgemma gift.

The Dark Sky Community designation is a sign that more people will be involved in the protection of what local astronomer and photographer Dennis Mammana calls a “celestial preserve”. This is an accurate description for vanishing areas like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where the night sky is unobstructed. Light pollution is the artificial glow in the sky that dims the celestial sky. The Milky Way, meteor showers, and Orion’s shield are not visible in many cities. In some cases, the world’s largest cities are not even capable of viewing the North Star. A recent report in Physics Today noted the fading of the night sky, and suggested that perhaps the star filled night was something only astronomers cared about.

The answer should be a resounding no, because light pollution is a problem that effects everyone. According to Connie Walker, an associate scientist at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Arizona, the level of concern depends on the public’s awareness level. The more people learn and understand, the more they will make the right choices to promote dark skies.

Homeowners can easily make an impact by replacing or retrofitting existing lights with attractive dark sky lighting fixtures, or turning off excessive lights. Installing a shield over bright lights so that they shine downwards can reduce light shining upwards to the sky. Placing lights on a timer and switching to lower watt bulbs are easy ways to make a difference. These basic measures help prevent light trespass, a term describing unwelcome light shining into a household or yard from a neighboring property. To avoid light trespass, households should use motion sensor lights aimed at the ground, use lower watt bulbs and replace unshielded fixtures. Turning off lights at a respectable hour is an obvious way to avoid light trespass.

Dark-sky advocates maintain that the natural night sky is invaluable to astronomers, who are running out of locations to view galaxies. Dark skies are an integral part of human health. Light pollution is a known source of energy waste and global warming. According to the International Dark-Sky Association, America spends about $2 billion on light that shines upward and directly contributes to light pollution. According to Miller-McCune, this is the equivalent of an annual carbon footprint of about 13 barrels of oil. This figure is in addition to the untold amounts of wasted lights from public locations that remain on all night.

If the efforts of six people to end light pollution in their community is inspiring, imagine what can be achieved when several communities unite to reclaim the night sky for all to enjoy. Borrego Springs sets an example for other communities and individuals to follow. If six people can inspire a town; imagine how a town can inspire the world.

Cheryl Marland is the publisher of Outdoor Lighting Choices.

People are concerned about making earth-friendly choices in all aspects of their lives, and outdoor lighting is no exception. Want to know how to find the perfect outdoor lighting that will meet all of your expectations for added security, decreased lighting pollution, reduced energy consumption, and above all, outstanding beauty? Stay up-to-date with dark sky and solar lighting news and look no further for dark sky compliant and quality solar outdoor lighting to meet all of your outdoor lighting needs.

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