It breaks my heart to know that more and more children are growing up without ever having seen the Milky Way. There’s nothing like being out in the middle of nowhere and looking up to see what seems like a million stars. It makes you realize that you’re just a tiny little person on a tiny little planet in a gigantic universe. It fills you with reverence.
Unfortunately, as humans take up more and more space on the planet, they bring their inefficient lighting with them. The skies glow above cities. That’s so unnecessary. There are often multiple lighting sources where one would be sufficient. There are too many unshielded lights that illuminate unnecessary areas. How much electricity is wasted, lighting up the sky? Light pollution also negatively impacts the ecosystem and our health. (Do you sleep well? I don’t.) If this trend keeps up, people will forget that the stars even exist. That would be tragic.
According to www.darksky.org, “80 percent of the world’s population lives under skyglow. In the United states and Europe 99 percent of the public can’t experience a natural night.”
Fortunately, light pollution is reversible if we take action. The International Dark Sky Association is an excellent resource toward that end. At their website, you can learn about light pollution, see an interactive map that will show you exactly how much your town glows at night (I was horrified when I looked at mine), learn how to make your lighting dark sky friendly, Find the nearest officially designated Dark Sky Place, and even learn how to talk to your neighbor about their obnoxious lights.
Tonight is the first night of International Dark Sky Week, 2021. It’s a week to raise awareness of light pollution, and it encourages you to go to a dark sky place and look up, to remember that there’s a lot out there that you may have been missing. The night sky should not be taken for granted.
The ultimate form of recycling: Buy my book, read it, and then donate it to your local public library or your neighborhood little free library! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5