Commentary: We all have role in keeping night skies dark -- as they should be
Less than 100 years ago, nearly everyone could look up at a spectacular starry night sky and see the Milky Way. Now, millions of children across the globe will never experience the natural wonder of the heavens.
As the City of Cottonwood pursues the International Dark-Sky Community designation for Cottonwood, we are taking steps to protect our night sky not only for our community but also for future generations.
According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), light pollution hinders astronomy, harms the planet, wastes money, and threatens the health and safety of all life. Light pollution hides the stars and changes our experience of the night. We do need some light at night, but at least 30 percent of outdoor light is wasted because it is too bright, unshielded, or unnecessary.
What is light pollution? It’s excessive or inappropriate outdoor lighting. The IDA defines the four common forms of light pollution:
• Glare – excessive brightness causing visual discomfort – Glare from bright, unshielded lights actually decreases safety; it shines into your eyes limiting your ability to see.
• Urban sky glow – brightening of the night sky
• Light trespass – light falling where it’s not intended or needed
• Clutter – bright, confusing and excessive groupings of light source
We all can help reduce light pollution by having dark sky compliant light fixtures that are shielded on top and on the sides. Thank you for your continuing support and help in preserving our night sky.
Joanne Kendrick is a member of the Cottonwood Dark-Sky Committee, Chairperson for Keep Sedona Beautiful Dark-Sky Committee and Big Park/Village of Oak Creek Dark-Sky Committee.
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