The Conspiracy Chronicles: August 2019

Take a moment to look up!

On this, the 4th edition of the Conspiracy Chronicles, we're taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of a night sky and learn how we can protect it from light pollution!

Are you new to the Conspiracy Chronicles club? WELCOME! We love it when new people join the adventure of recognizing the good in the world. The Conspiracy Chronicles are a monthly newsletter that takes a look at a problem our world faces, gives us a thought leader to rally around, and leaves us all with some easy ways we can contribute to the #ConspiracyofGoodness!

The Problem

What’s your favorite stargazing memory?

For thousands of years, we humans have depended on the night sky for navigation, storytelling, and as a catalyst for the big questions about who we are and why we’re here. Now, this wonder of our world is being threatened by light pollution, and it’s doing more than just making it difficult to see the stars. Light pollution can have a huge toll on our health!

What is light pollution? Well, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)—we’ll introduce you to them in a second—define it as “the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light.Excessive light has an enormous impact on humans, wildlife, and even the climate.

Light pollution shows up in a few ways, some common ones are: 

  • Glare: excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort
  • Skyglow: brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas
  • Light Trespass: Light falling where it is not intended or needed 
  • Clutter: bright, confusing, and excessive groupings of light sources

(International Dark-Sky Association)

Any of these sound familiar? It probably does, because 80% of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies! And if you live in the United States or Europe, 99% of the population lives with light pollution. (Science Advances)

What’s the impact of this light pollution? For animals, artificial light at night can cause disruptions to migration patterns, spawning behaviors, and feeding habits. 

In humans, the effects can be pretty terrible as well. Exposure to excessive light can alter our sleep and wake cycles, core body temperature, hormone regulation and release, and patterns of gene expression. These could potentially have impacts on human health like breast and prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, and depression. (The Royal Society)

Environmentally, a lot of wasted energy goes into keeping the lights on at night. The IDA estimates we waste about 30% of the lighting we use.

What can any of us do about this? Well, we have a great thought leader to introduce you to that will leave you excited to tackle light pollution in your own world!

Our Featured Thought Leader Tackling the Problem

International Dark-Sky Association

The International Dark-Sky Association is a global leader in this mission to reduce light pollution. Since 1988, they have been educating the public about light pollution, helping to inform policies and research into how we can preserve dark skies.

Their mission is “to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting.” They look at the issue of access to dark skies from a lot of angles. So whether your concern is just seeing the stars, making sure your health doesn’t suffer or reducing your strain on the natural world, they have resources you can dive into.

Additionally, they have a lot of practical knowledge you can use to make changes in your own home and lives to reduce your light footprint. Or, if you’ve found this topic particularly compelling, they have information and guides on how you can become an advocate in your own communities!

Simple Things You Can Do!

  • Assess the light pollution around you! Start with noticing the outdoor lighting in your own home or neighborhood. Take a second to recognize the major components of light pollution around you. (Glare, Skyglow, Light Trespass, Clutter)

  • Change your lighting: You can check out fixtures, bulbs and helpful tips on the IDA Site. Here are some of the basics to get you started:

    • Just light what you need
    • Shield lights and direct them downward
    • Use energy-efficient bulbs that are as bright as you need
    • Buy warm white light bulbs
    • Use light only when you need it by placing it on timers or motion sensors
    • Draw your blinds at night to keep indoor light inside
  • Advocate for lighting ordinances. If you are really passionate about the subject you can help to educate your community about changing their lighting practices. Check out this great page to get yourself started!

  • Become a citizen scientist! You can become a part of a global community of people helping scientists measure and study light pollution!

If you want some more ways to get involved IDA has a list of the top 10 ways you can help out! They provide some amazing resources to get you started. It’s one of the most informational and practical organizations we’ve had the pleasure of running into!

Keep Up with the Community!

Tell us how you are assessing the dark-skies in your life this month! Whether you’re spending some time stargazing, becoming an advocate for dark-skies, or just changing some bulbs around the house let us know!

To see what other people are up to and to share your inspirations, join the #ConspiracyofGoodness Facebook Group

At the end of every month, we also have a collective donation that happens through our Patreon. We take all of the funds (individual pledges from $1 to $20) and donate them to an awesome organization helping to solve our problem of the month. Head over to our Patreon to learn more and get involved! 

Finally, you can follow Ever Widening Circles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we’ll be posting more about our own night skies! In Vermont, there’s nothing more beautiful (and rare) than a clear, warm, summer night so we’ll be sure to enjoy them a little more this month!

Forward this Email to a Friend!

Know any stargazers out there who you think should know about #ConspiracyofGoodness?
Send this email along to them to let them know about the Conspiracy of Goodness! They can join the community themselves by clicking here to join the mailing list!

Explore more!

For those wanting to dive deeper into the work of the International Dark-Sky Association and light pollution, we wrote an article detailing their work and how you can get involved. Check out the article to learn more! Click here to head over and explore.

We'll see you next month!

-The Ever Widening Circles Team
Copyright © 2019 Ever Widening Circles, All rights reserved.

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