Ask any astronomer and they can tell you about the problems caused by light pollution. Light pollution is roughly defined as excess light produced by human activity that artificially brightens the sky and atmosphere in any given area. This radiated light can make it difficult for both amateur and professional astronomers to gather information and appreciate the beauty of the natural world and the galaxy. This problem grows larger as the population increases and our cities become denser and farther spread.
The Committee for Citizen Involvement (CCI) has recently made it their goal to tackle this problem. They have begun their effort by raising general awareness of the problem. Their gatherings, most aptly named “Starry Nights,” expose citizens to the beauty of the night sky as well as the increasing encroachment of artificial light on its brilliance here on earth. The group has also began what is known as the Dark Skies Initiative. This initiative hopes to lower the amount of light cast vertically and the amount of false light that is present in areas that are wildlife habitats.
The Dark Skies Initiative regulations would not require changes in light fixtures for existing buildings, they would only affect the construction of new buildings. The public response has been good and there is an emerging consensus among the people. Citizens want to know how to reduce light pollution and in conjunction lower power bills for themselves and their communities. Citizens being exposed to this new sort of urban planning are excited to receive information regarding the habitats that surround their communities and the types of wildlife that are thrive there.
An awareness of the effects that lighting from their community might be having on the development of the natural world has definitely caused concern and spawned a willingness to curb their old habits for the better. All segments of the population from the elderly to the boyscout are enjoying the results of a clearer and more brilliant night sky that greets them at the end of each day.