I’m going to climb onto my super-amateur astronomer soap box for a minute.
Overall, more than 99% of Americans live under light-polluted skies, and some spots in the USA may never again experience a true night thanks to the perpetual, artificial light.
Be warned: light pollution makes me angry. But, this post isn’t all doom and gloom. Public astronomy and night themed projects can help give us our dark sky back.
I said it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s first got to be a little evangelical book thumping.
The major news sites were blowing up yesterday with findings from a recent study that concludes over a third of the world’s population can no longer see the Milky Way in the night sky due to light pollution. Our current addiction to light isn’t only barring our view of night, but it’s also wreaking havoc on wildlife, the environment, and even our very functioning.
Like littering, light pollution can be remedied. Most of the problem stems from two things: our search for “energy efficient” white light, which is harmful and attractive to wildlife, and poor urban design. Birds have difficulty navigating, rare insect species die out, frogs no longer croak. City street light fixtures waste light, and bathe the night sky in enough light that most cities are now visible from the International Space Station.
I am unfortunately not a scientist, but as a human with vested interested in this planet, I’m going to try and inspire as many people as possible. Find some great night themed projects after the jump!
Artificial lights can disrupt the migratory schedules of birds causing them to leave too early or too late in the season, missing ideal conditions for nesting. Birds that navigate by moonlight and starlight can wander off course. Millions die every year by colliding into needlessly illuminated buildings. Every year, the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) “displays” these victims of light pollution to raise public awareness.
I’ve got two projects going right now all about the night sky. The first, is embroidering the Tor Teen bag I got at PLA (above center), and fixing my poor black hoodie. It’s got a hole, but soon it’s going to sport some absolutely rad celestial designs.But, the night can inspire a lot of different things, from book sculptures (top left) to fabric paintings (top right).
I’m also in love with these ideas:
Find some more great ideas over at Isle of Wonders! I’d also recommend watching “Losing the Dark” linked below. The more science studies our relationship with the night sky, the more active we must become in fighting for a darker night.
Can you see the Milky Way at night? Go outside tonight, and if you can’t see it, consider what humanity would be without the view from down here.