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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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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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Geese Peace: A Strategy for Humane Co-Existance

By |March 2nd, 2015|Categories: Coexisting with Wildlife, Ideas & Tools|

Post written by Dita Beard Many citizens become frustrated when Canada Geese occupy our favorite outdoor recreation areas, especially those with bodies of water. Communities can be torn when faced with how manage citizen frustration and support wildlife. Often, lethal and other non-humane strategies are taken, but these strategies are ineffective over the long run. The problem arose because various national and local agencies resolved to save the Canada geese after overhunting and the use of decoys brought them to the brink of extinction decades ago. Unfortunately, the tactics used to bolster the population of the Canada Goose resulted in non-migrating birds hatched outside of Canada. Due to predator avoidance and nesting behaviors, they tend to seek out areas with bodies of water and plenty [...]

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Legislating the Humane Treatment of Wildlife

By |February 25th, 2015|Categories: Coexisting with Wildlife, Ideas & Tools|

Post written by James D. Brown Our need to plan for nature in our urban landscapes requires a purposeful consideration of how we, as human urban residents, can peacefully co-exist with our more wild neighbors. Some cities are considering the methods by which these interactions occur, especially how we can humanly treat wildlife that may not always be welcome.[i] Deer in Rock Creek Park by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post One emblematic and well discussed legislative effort was undertaken by the Council of the District of Columbia in the form of its Wildlife Protection Act of 2010.[ii] The Wildlife Protection Act establishes a licensing and regulatory system for “wildlife control operators”. Previously, there were limited provisions that governed the trapping and treatment of [...]

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Reinventing Nature in the City: Leave No Trace and Do No Harm Turns Into Do Something, Make It Good

By |October 22nd, 2014|Categories: Ideas & Tools, Interviews, Unexpected Nature|

An Interview with Natalie Jeremijenko, Director of the Environmental Health Clinic, Associate Professor in the Visual Art Department, NYU and affiliated with the Computer Science Department and Environmental Studies program Natalie Jeremijenko is a renowned artist, engineer, and inventor who is innovating in unexpected ways. Jeremijenko, like many others, is dissatisfied with current reactions to many of today’s greatest environmental challenges. Instead of following suit, she has used her ingenuity to create a collection of demonstration projects that celebrate nature and allow citizens to experience nature in unexpected ways. These demonstration projects fall under the umbrella of the Environmental Health Clinic where instead of “patients” there are “impatients.” The “impatients” are fed up with the negative treatment of the environment and the impacts that this treatment of the environment has [...]

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