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Save Our Sky

For those sky-watchers who worry about the environment, having the world go green is not enough. In place of that color it should be dark green. Although light pollution doesn't generally cause as much alarm as other issues such as the changing climate, there is an outspoken community of stargazers that feel this is an important problem that must be worked on and eventually solved. Our Milky Way is home to hundreds of millions of stars, fewer and fewer of which are observable due to increasing light pollution; not only does light pollution interfere with our experiencing the wonder of our own galaxy, but it also wastes energy.

Only one-third of the cities in the United States are dark enough at night for people to see the Milky Way while standing in their backyards. Watchers of the night sky generally prefer to use the Milky Way as a measuring tool. If you consult an atlas and look at the eastern portion of the US, you will find areas the size of a small country with dark unpolluted skies. It's difficult to find a place where you can truly feel and see the darkness, here in the West, even if you're willing to travel long distances to get there. Most crimes against property take place during the day, so 24-hour security lighting (in home and industrial settings) may not be as important as people think. Although at this point twenty-seven states already have laws in place or proposed to control the amount of skyward-pointed lighting and energy lights, this is a type of pollution that ought to be regulated to the same degree as any other, and the current regulations are not enough.

The pollution that is caused by home owners will need to be reduced. (including a control of security lighting and snugger window coverings).

Maria is a freelance journalist writing about Thomas Sandersen patio awnings.

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