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It’s a stunning photo… And one we all recognize. At this point in time, more than half of the Earth’s population lives in or near a city and the results shine clearly from space. The crime is not energy consumption, over-population or even global warming. It’s the loss of one of our greatest natural resources… The starry night sky.
Light pollution effects more than just our ability to see the stars at night. Take a walk along the coastlines. It may be hard to believe, but hatching sea turtles aren’t able to get their bearings due to beachfront lighting. Even the aquatic ecosystems are effected! But it’s not just at the waters edge. Birds find it difficult to make
nesting choices and many species have difficulty breeding under over-lighted conditions. Can you imagine how much light changes disturb the habits of nocturnal animals and night-loving plants? Just as important and the Sun shining its life giving light on the Earth, so we are balanced by darkness.
I’m not hear to preach to you about light pollution. Outdoor lighting is used for many reasons, like security, sporting events and even advertising. However, by making just a few small changes – intelligent choices – on how we use that light we can help to preserve the stars for generations to come. You can learn more just by visiting the International Dark Sky Association and taking a few minutes to read.
Right now, you can do science a favour just by taking a few minutes out of your evening and having a look at the night sky from your location. It’s just as easy as finding Orion and counting the stars you see! In a effort to collection information from people the world over, GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) is asking for your help. It’s a great way for teachers, students, parents and even people just like you and me to participate in a real science effort. Visit the G.L.O.B.E. at Night pages for more information and join us in a world-wide effort!