Next week is International Dark Sky Week, designed to raise awareness of the scourge of light pollution, that has made the night sky all but invisible in our cities.
The program was the brainchild of high-school student Jennifer Barlow in 2003 and is held each year around Earth Day and Astronomy Day. This year it runs from Monday, 13 April to Sunday, 19 April.
“I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future…. I want to help preserve its wonder,” Barlow said.
The program also promotes simple solutions that could be used to mitigate light pollution.
Not only does the light pollution destroy our ability to see the stars, it is wasteful of energy, as organisers write on their website.
Research also suggests that the loss of the natural nighttime environment is causing serious harm to the environment and human health.
For nocturnal animals in particular, the introduction of artificial light at night could very well be the most devastating change humans have made to their environment. Light pollution also has deleterious effects on other organisms such as migrating birds, sea turtle hatchlings, and insects.
The program suggests some things you can do to fight back.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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