Friday, November 20, 2009

An article in the Wall Street Journal on LP dealing with the Town of Barrington

I read with great interest your article entitled "Everything Is Deluminated". We are facing the extinction of an entire ecosystem - the unpolluted night sky. Over 100 years ago a similar fate almost became of other untainted environments around our nation. People of wisdom and forethought banded together to preserve some of our greatest vistas and our national park system was founded. The same arguments you have mentioned are echoes from days gone by. Forests, minerals and fauna were simply there for the taking. To be ravaged without a care in the world. Extinction was mankind's legacy on the ecosystem.

Theodore Roosevelt fought hard against the self-serving interests and attitude you present. He fought for future generations that had no voice at meetings. He fought against extinction and raping of the land. He was a patriot as all are that work to preserve our nation for future generations.

A book about the flag published by Congress in 1977 states, "The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial.” We use it to symbolize honor, achievement and hope. The starry sky is the firmament, the roof of a divine cathedral, open to all.

If Americans were to fly flags representing the numbers of stars we can see at night, most of us would be flying a flag like the former Soviet Union. As Light Pollution worsens over the upcoming years, most of us will live to see the day the last 50 star flag is lowered and retired for good in the contiguous US.

So what’s the big deal about losing our ability to see the stars? Theodore Roosevelt once compared the loss of ocean birds being, “…like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.” How can we measure or justify the loss of our aspirations, honor or hope? Can we really bulldoze that divine cathedral and replace it with a cave of twilight? Public parks and wilderness areas are a truly American invention and have been called our greatest legacy. But, they take care and vigilance to keep them unimpaired in beauty. For over 100 years, patriots such as Lincoln, Muir, Roosevelt and countless individuals and organizations have fought to protect these lands. Should we look into the eyes of our children and tell them we tried our best or do we pick up Old Glory, fallen on the battlefield, and fight the good fight? I challenge everyone not to sit idly by and watch the Star Spangled Banner fade into history, future generations demand better.

"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value." Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, November 9, 2009

EPA looking for summer intern to research strategies for reducing light pollution

Project Overview:
EPA is responsible for protecting long-range visibility that may be affected by air pollutants. Air pollutants have the ability to both scatter and absorb light. They thus affect the ability of humans to clearly see distant objects, including scenic vistas and national monuments. However, night-sky visibility is affected less by traditional air pollutants, and more by artificial lighting around streets and buildings. Under this project, the fellow will research strategies for reducing light pollution that affects night-sky visibility that simultaneously conserve energy and reduce emissions of traditional air pollutants. The fellow will also research the effect of air pollutants and artificial lighting on night-sky visibility.


NNEMS Program Materials
Note - Applications due by February 5, 2010

Wilderness Lost to Light Pollution

“The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.” Theodore Roosevelt

The two researchers with the National Park Service’s Night Sky Team had arrived earlier in the evening, just before sunset. Packing their robotic camera and measurement equipment, they began a leisurely hike to the observation site. Only a short hike from the end of the road but exposed to the biting wind and cold. As astronomical twilight passed, they finished setting up their equipment and prepared to start taking measurements. It would take a couple of hours to get official results, but a quick scan around the horizon fueled their suspicions. What should be a glorious display of the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon instead had a halo of grey, like a cancer gnawing at the very foundation of the heavens. After a couple of quiet hours of taking measurements and documentation on Light Pollution, they reviewed the results.

“It’s official, six years earlier than expected,” said the first researcher.
“Is this the last one?” inquired the second.
“Yes.” muttered the first.
“Bryce Canyon, Arches, Natural Bridges, Craters of the Moon? All succumbed to Light Pollution?” the astonished researcher asked.
“Yes.” repeated the first.

After packing their equipment, they quietly walked back to their vehicle. They stored their equipment and the second researcher pulled out a bag that had been gathering dust for several years. He had been a bugler at Arlington National Cemetery and had not touched his bugle since laying his brother to rest. The loss of the last unpolluted night sky in the contiguous United States struck a chord as deeply as the loss of his brother. Something he cared deeply about had slipped away. The 24 notes of Taps echoed from the mountaintop. Wilderness had been lost.

--Wilderness is defined as "where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions” The Wilderness Act of 1964

Monday, December 8, 2008

We are getting ready for the 2009 legislative session. Here is our latest draft of the video.