“Dark Sky” is a term used to refer to a growing movement that looks to curb light pollution by establishing rules regarding outdoor lighting fixtures – namely, that they direct light downward rather than let it spill into the night sky.The dividing question about Dark Sky seems to be this: Does the threat of light pollution truly warrant government intrusion into what kind of lights we can buy and how we illuminate our homes?Benefits of Dark Sky
There’s no question that light pollution is real and that Dark Sky-compliant lighting
can have a positive impact. Anyone who has visited or lived in a big city knows you see fewer stars in the night sky than when you’re out and away from all the bright lights. There are, however, other benefits beyond natural aesthetics.1. Energy Conservation
Dark Sky encourages energy savings by requiring a more efficient use of light. Less light projected upwards and outwards means there is more light focused on the ground where it’s needed, which should translate to a need for fewer lights.2. Less Nighttime Glare
Raise your hand if you have a neighbor with glaring porch lights that shine through your bedroom window at night. It’s a common problem, especially in more crowded neighborhoods. Dark-Sky ordinances could help thousands of people get better sleep at night, which could improve productivity and generally make you more pleasant to be around in the morning.3. Animal Health Improvement
There are a good number of animals out there that also don’t like the glare and scientists say Dark Sky can help. Studies have shown that light pollution can have a negative impact on animal sleep cycles and reproductive habits, which can cause damaging ripple effects throughout the lower order of your neighborhood Animal Kingdom.Dark Sky Legal Theory
As more ordinances are adopted around the country it becomes necessary for local officials and Dark-Sky advocates to explain how these rules are justified outside of HOA mandates, despite the benefits. Some are framing light pollution as a form of nuisance; your light should stay on your property, just as your trash, yard clippings and kids’ toys must. Others are touting it as a necessary step in energy conservation and environmental stewardship.For anyone curious about the Dark-Sky ordinances in their state or county, the International Dark Sky Association frequently updates its Directory of Lighting Ordinances
would like your opinion. Is Dark Sky an initiative that should be addressed on an individual basis according to one’s personal views or should there be ordinances that require compliance?