My obsession with the night sky started with my Papaw and one shooting star. We spent many evenings of my childhood on the front porch swing stargazing. He would always see a shooting star, and I would always miss it. I never saw a meteor until the night he passed away and that one flying fireball would forever change the trajectory of my life. Every night I go out to capture the stars I see a shooting star now, and I know it is my Papaw telling me I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I want everyone to be able to experience the magic of watching a meteor fall across the sky, but sadly, over one-third of humanity cannot even see the stars. Not only are dark night skies essential to the rhythms of life on our planet, but stargazing has also been proven to ease our minds and make us more compassionate towards others, which we can all agree, we need more compassion in today’s society.
This is why light pollution is such an important topic to me. Light Pollution not only affects us and our ability to see the night sky, but it also affects wildlife. One of my goals is to bring awareness that light pollution that is slowly causing our dark skies to fade away. It is a topic that is rarely discussed when it comes to our health, and is greatly affecting us and nature and is a form of pollution that is grossly ignored by most people.
why is Light Pollution such an important topic?
According to National Geographic, “light pollution is affecting human health, wildlife behavior, and our ability to observe stars and other celestial objects….Artificial light can wreak havoc on natural body rhythms in both humans and animals. Nocturnal light interrupts sleep and confuses the circadian rhythm in nearly all living organisms. One of these processes is the production of the hormone melatonin, which is released when it is dark and is inhibited when there is light present. An increased amount of light at night lowers melatonin production, which results in sleep deprivation, fatigue, headaches, stress, anxiety, and other health problems. Recent studies also show a connection between reduced melatonin levels and cancer. In fact, new scientific discoveries about the health effects of artificial light have convinced the American Medical Association (AMA) to support efforts to control light pollution and conduct research on the potential risks of exposure to light at night.”
There are only a few states in the country that actually have true dark skies. I want to advocate to not only my home state of Arkansas, but also to the surrounding states, the dangers of light pollution to us and animals, offer lighting options that would drastically cut down the pollution and energy waste, and preserve the beauty and awe of our night skies.
how you can help
Please take some time to read the material below provided by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) and see how you can help out. Besides just changing your home lighting, there are other ways to advocate for light pollution.