The International Dark-Sky Association: 21 Years of Night-Sky Protection

The International Dark-Sky Association: 21 Years of Night-Sky Protection ( pdf )
Kim Patten (Programs Director, International Dark-Sky Association)
The November 2008 edition of National Geographic asked the question “The End of Night?” on its cover. This cover was then translated into dozens of languages and distributed throughout the world, while the article divulged the continuing degradation of the night as the world becomes more urbanized and modernized. The article also described the steps that communities and organizations were doing to ensure that this statement does not become reality. We at the International Dark-Sky Association certainly hope that the answer to the question is “NO!”. 2008 marked the pivotal 20-year anniversary for the International Dark-Sky Association. As we move from being a so-called fringe organization with extremist thoughts into the mainstream it’s necessary to maintain focused on the end goal; preservation and restoration of a natural night environment that is safe for all walks of life. Over the past twenty years we have done much to educate and promote the usage of environmentally friendly outdoor lighting for the preservation of ground-based astronomy, ecologically sensitive regions, energy efficiency, and general nighttime ambiance. In looking ahead to the next twenty years we look forward to not only continuing this education, but moving towards a global understanding of the preservation and restoration of night skies. With a worldwide push for energy efficiency, now is the time to encourage retrofitting of outdated lighting installations. More and more lighting retrofits, from Canada to Slovenia, are showing improvements in nighttime visibility both on the street and of the heavens. The free educational materials and activities available from the IDA, along with advice from activists across the globe help enable and ensure that proper planning for the protection of the night can advance well into the future. It is our intention that within the next twenty years, National Geographic and other publications worldwide are proudly proclaiming “Seeing the Dark”.

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