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Valuing Dark Skies

By |May 12th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

James D. Brown For at least half a century, astronomers have paid witness to the debilitating effects of artificial light on the night skies. In more recent years, growing science and our own innate understanding of a disconnection has led us to better understand that we are all suffering from a lack of dark skies. We not only suffer a human and spiritual disconnect without dark skies but there are also costs for our health and the environment.Cities and towns across the country have attempted for several years to adopt local laws to limit the adverse impacts of artificial light on the night sky. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has been at the forefront of this effort. IDA summarizes the primary damaging effects of [...]

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Wildness in the Night Sky

By |May 11th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Dark Skies|

Tim Beatley We tend naturally to associate large cities with bright lights. There is Times Square, of course, and the Great White Way (Broadway Avenue), in New York City before that. There is Paris, of course, the City of Lights (though this may have more to do with the city as an intellectual center). A little over a century ago we started down the path of lighting (and lighting-up) our cities and towns, a relatively small speck of time in the evolutionary history of species and planet. We’ve reached a point today where most of have a difficult time seeing stars, or discerning much of their spectacular brilliance, if we even think to look skyward. The profligate blightness of our cities carries with it many [...]

Lights Out in Flagstaff, Arizona!

By |May 11th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

Briana Bergstrom When the great earth, abandoning day, rolls up the deeps of the heavens and the universe, a new door opens for the human spirit, and there are few so clownish that some awareness of the mystery of being does not touch them as they gaze. For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars – pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time. Fugitive though the instant be, the spirit of man is, during it, ennobled by a genuine moment of emotional dignity, and poetry makes its own both the human spirit and experience. – Henry Beston, The Outermost House (1928) A Protected Night Sky [...]

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Taming the Night for Kid Friendly Dark Skies

By |May 2nd, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

Amanda Beck Revisions of classic fairytales to portray “villains” in new and complex ways has become a popular storytelling device these days, and it’s time to get to know another misunderstood phenomenon: the night. Going beyond quotidian worries of a dark sky, many of us can list several fond memories that take place when the sun is down—catching fireflies on a warm summer night, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, counting stars on a crisp winter evening, waiting for a shooting star. This Biophilic Cities newsletter is all about ways cities are embracing smarter policies regarding darkness, and we wanted to include some ideas of how to involve children in rethinking our relationship with the night sky. Build confidence inside. An easy way to celebrate the [...]

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In Search for the Night Sky: A Visit from Paul Bogard

By |April 28th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Interviews|

The Biophilic Cities Project had the honor of hosting author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light (Little, Brown and Company) and professor, Paul Bogard, this past month. As a creative non-fiction writer, Bogard has a special way of sharing the research and telling the narrative of our innate connection with the night sky and the loss of visibility of the night sky due to light pollution. Artificial, unshielded light prevents us from connecting with the night sky, wastes valuable resources, and negatively affects wildlife. There are four main forms of light pollution including, glare, sky glow, light trespass, and clutter. Bogard is deeply passionate about this topic as he discusses the problems with light pollution, common [...]