Cenizo Journal Winter 2021 - Page 12

HOW HEALTHY ARE YOUR NIGHT SKIES ?
Experiencing natural darkness means different things to different people . For some , the night and natural darkness inspires fearfulness and dread . For others , it brings a sense of calm , connection with nature or a feeling of expansive freedom . Or a better night ’ s sleep . Natural darkness offers the joy and wonder of seeing the countless stars in the Milky Way emerge from the sky as day blends into night . And without quality nighttime skies , experiencing that once-in-alifetime astronomical event , such as a comet or meteor shower , would be impossible . Night sky quality is both a personal and a community-level experience . It is the direct result of our own awareness and practices . So , how important are quality night skies to you ?
To advance night sky quality awareness and reduce light pollution globally , the International Dark Sky association has created several different designations that celebrate and protect natural night sky quality . These range from International Dark Sky Parks , typically located in wilderness and back country areas such as the Big Bend National Park and neighboring Big Bend Ranch State Park , to Urban Night Sky Places where planning design and practices not only protect but recover night sky quality . Even highly populated urban areas such as Flagstaff , Arizona , have dramatically reduced their artificial light pollution , regaining night sky quality , and improving nighttime conditions beyond city limits .
In the Big Bend , different groups are approaching night sky quality from a variety of angles . The Big Bend Conservation Alliance names dark sky conservation in the scope of their mission . The McDonald Observatory , long known for its activities to protect night skies for astronomical viewing , has a growing list of demonstrations where night sky quality has been improved through the adoption of night sky friendly technology and practices . There is a new group forming to specifically focus on night sky conservation as the sole scope of their mission : West Texas Friends of the Night Sky . Each of these entities encourages individuals , neighborhoods and communities to protect and improve their night sky quality through awareness , education , and night sky friendly technology and practices .
These are encouraging developments , but as of this writing International Dark Sky Reserves are so rare that only 16 exist worldwide , and only one is located the U . S ., in Central Idaho . If successful , the proposed Big
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Bend International Dark Sky Reserve will become Earth ’ s newest such place , enhancing quality of life , safety , and health benefits for all .
FURTHER READING Blair , Ada . ( 2017 ). An Exploration of the Role that the Night Sky Plays in the Lives of the Dark Sky Island Community of Sark . Journal of Skyscape Archaeology . 3 . 236-252 . 10.1558 / jsa . 34689 .
Foster J . J ., Smolka J ., Nilsson , D-E , Dacke , M . 2018 How animals follow the stars . Proc . R . Soc . B 285 : 20172322 . http :// dx . doi . org / 10.1098 / rspb . 2017.2322
Hölker , F ., Wolter , C , Perkin , E . K ., Tockner , K . ( 2010 ). Light pollution as a biodiversity threat . Trends Ecol . Evol . 25 , 681 – 682 ( 2010 ).
Hölker , F , Wurzbacher , C ., Weißenborn , C ., Monaghan , M . T ., Holzhauer , S . I . J ., Premke , K . ( 2015 ) Microbial diversity and community respiration in freshwater sediments influenced by artificial light at night . Philos . Trans . Roy . Soc . B Biol . Sci . 370 , 20140130 ( 2015 ).
Keshet-Sitton , A . , K . Or-Chen , K , Huber , E ., Haim , A ( 2016 ). Illuminating a risk for breast cancer : A preliminary ecological study on the association between streetlight and breast cancer . Integr . Cancer Ther . 1534735416678983
Kyba , C . C . M ., Kuester , T ., Sánchez de Miguel , A ., Baugh , K ., Jechow , A , Hölker , F ., Bennie , J . Elvidge , C . D ., Gaston , K . J ., Guanter , L . ( 2017 ) Artificially lit surface of Earth at night increasing in radiance and extent , Science Advances ,
American Association for the Advancement of Sciences . e1701528 ( 2017 ).
Lunn , Ruth M ., Blask , D ., Coogan , A . N ., Figueiro , M . G ., Gorman , M . R ., Hall , J . E ., Hansen , J ., Nelson , R . J ., Panda , S ., Smolensky , M . H ., Stevens , R . G ., Turek , F . W ., Vermeulen , R ., Carreón , T , Caruso , C . C . ( 2017 ). Health consequences of electric lighting practices in the modern world : A report on the National Toxicology Program ' s workshop on shift work at night , artificial light at night , and circadian disruption , Science of the Total Environment , Elsevier
Touitou Y , Reinberg A , Touitou D . ( 2017 ). Association between light at night , melatonin secretion , sleep deprivation , and the internal clock : Health impacts and mechanisms of circadian disruption . Life Sci . 2017 ; 173:94-106 . doi : 10.1016 / j . lfs . 2017.02.008
Touitou , Yvan ( 1997 ) Yvan Touitou Light at Night : Pollution of the Internal Clock , a Public Health Issue . ( Touitou Y . Light at night pollution of the internal clock , a public health issue . Bulletin of the Academy of National Medicine , 2015 ; 199 ( 7 ): 1081-1098 )
Steinbach R , Perkins C , Tompson L , et al . ( 2015 ). The effect of reduced street lighting on road casualties and crime in England and Wales : controlled interrupted time series analysis . J Epidemiol Community Health 2015 ; 69:1118- 1124 .
Stevens , Richard G ., Brainard , G . C , Blask , D . E , Lockley , S . W , Motta , M . E . ( 2013 ) Adverse health effects of nighttime lighting , American Journal of Preventive Medicine , Elsevier

12 Cenizo Winter 2021