Summer Edition - 2023
Message from the chair:
Submissions for youth ambassadors are due December 20th.
Are you aged between 18 - 25 years of age? Inspired to make a positive change in the world, and keen to work as part of a collaborative passionate people?
Become a Youth Ambassador!
Youth Ambassadors support ADSA's mission to inform communities about light pollution - the world’s fastest growing pollutant. Utilising their own unique skills, interests and networks, they engage others to reduce the impact of light in our fragile natural ecosystems, to human health, and from seeing the stars.
Global Celebrations, Global Consequences: The Ripple Effect of Light Pollution
By Andre Chiaradia
The natural night sky has vital importance to the global ecosystems. The regular cycle of day and night, assisted by natural light, governs fundamental biological processes such as circadian rhythms, reproductive behaviours, and predator-prey interactions.
It is also important for the human societies. In the case of Aboriginal society, one of the world's oldest living cultures, the night sky holds profound significance, representing a celestial canvas intertwined with spirituality, identity, and a rich oral tradition embedded in Dreamtime stories, the cultural basis that explains the creation of the world and the origins of life. For them, preserving the natural night sky is essential to maintaining the cultural integrity and spiritual heritage that the stars have woven into the fabric of their existence. The visible transformation through the rise in artificial lights, most pronounced during the night, has seen a significant increase in artificial light intensity and the illuminated surface of our planet over the past decades.
For many recent societies, maintaining the natural night light seems less imperative. One visible impact is the surge in light pollution during religious and cultural celebrations. This study on how large-scale human celebrations increase global light pollution found a strong correlation between peaks in night-time light pollution and large cultural festivities involving massive gatherings and vibrant displays of artificial lights.
Seasonal patterns in night light for the countries grouped according to their major cultural celebrations. It considers countries with more than 70% of the population following a specific religion, as well as China and Vietnam festivities associated with New Year celebrations.
It identifies Christmas, Ramadan, Diwali, Chinese and Vietnamese (Tê’t) New Year celebrations as key contributors to increased night-time light intensity globally. The worldwide night-time light pollution peaks aligned with significant faith-based celebrations, emphasising the profound connection between light usage and cultural and religious observances. As Christmas time approaches, it is a good time to reflect on the profound influence of faith and cultural contexts on the increased use of artificial lights and ways to mitigate the adverse effects of the escalating global trend in night-time light pollution. The study offers valuable insights for policymakers, stressing the importance of the sustainable use of artificial lights to preserve the sanctity of Earth's ecosystems. Ramírez, F., Y. Cordón, D. García, A. Rodríguez, M. Coll, L. S. Davis, A. Chiaradia and J. L. Carrasco (2023). "Large-scale human celebrations increase global light pollution." People and Nature DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10520. Fully available as an open source online. Disclaimer: The views in this article are the author's interpretation of the referenced publication and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the original source.
The Effect of Urban Lighting on Perceptions of Safety for Women and Girls in Melbourne, Australia- Hoa Yang
Explore the profound impact of urban lighting on nighttime safety, particularly for women and girls in "The Effect of Urban Lighting on Perceptions of Safety for Women and Girls in Melbourne". In a collaboration between Monash University's XYX Lab and Plan International, research uncovered how lighting affects feelings of safety.
Brighter lights don't necessarily equate to greater safety; in fact, higher brightness levels can create discomfort and deter freedom of movement. Understanding how light interacts with surfaces, colours, and social contexts is essential in shaping perceptions of safety and comfort in public spaces.
This research, drawing from Plan International's Free to Be campaign, provides valuable insights into the intricate relationship between light and security.
Women in Lighting is an inspirational and global digital platform that profiles women working in the field of lighting and lighting design. It aims to promote their passion and achievements, narrate their career path and goals. It aims to celebrate their work and increase the profile of women working in lighting to help encourage, support and inspire the next generation.
New developments in lighting policy
Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water
A new revision of the AS/NZS 4282 standard on the Control of the obtrusive effects of outdoor lighting has recently been published. Notably, the 2023 revision now recognises the impact that artificial light at night can have on plants, animals and ecosystems. Whilst the standard states that conforming to the technical parameters will benefit the environmental receivers through the reduction of spill light, it will not necessarily ameliorate impacts where protected species are located. Where environmental impacts are likely, the standard suggests referencing other documents, including the National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife.
Whilst this is a positive advancement in controlling the harmful effects of artificial light at night, it should also be noted that the standard does not apply to public lighting unless requested by the relevant authority. Subsequently, the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance strongly recommends all councils consider their position on public spaces and incorporate the AS/ NZS 4282:2023 standard as a requirement for all future developments and upgrades of their assets. The general public can also play a part in lobbying their local council to see this inclusion, helping to better shape the future of public spaces in their own region.
The Shearwaters of Phillip Island are facing perilous challenges due to the island's luminous nightscape.
Short-tailed Shearwater rescued from road
Cultural significance of Short-tailed Shearwaters for the Bunurong
Traffic management signage
Short-tailed Shearwater rescued from road
The Island's unique ecosystem has long been threatened by the allure of artificial lights, particularly for young shearwaters on their maiden flight to the sea. These fledglings become disoriented, often colliding with brightly illuminated structures or falling prey to dangers on the ground.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Phillip Island Nature Parks embarked on a series of groundbreaking studies to examine the profound impact of artificial lighting on shearwaters. Their rigorous scientific findings have catalysed collaboration with local authorities, road agencies, and state organizations, ultimately leading to the island's inclusion in the National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife.
Phillip Island has united residents and businesses in a triumphant campaign to protect shearwaters during their critical fledging period. This collective effort has even influenced planning applications near shearwater colonies, resulting in tangible conservation outcomes and offering hope for a brighter, darker future for wildlife on this magnificent island.
Phillip Island Nature Park is pleased to share the first 2023 Short-tailed Shearwater Report.
Listen to the DarkSky conversations podcast about Shearwaters
Bright sparks! TAFE Students Illuminate Astrotourism in Regional WA
North Metropolitan TAFE's Travel and Tourism students teamed up with Astrotourism Towns in WA to craft innovative visitor packages, under the Dark Sky Tourism Product Development Project. Four years strong, this initiative sparks fruitful connections between students and the regional tourism sphere to leverage WA's pristine dark night skies, developing unique travel experiences and bolstering local economies. With no internationally accredited dark sky spots in WA yet, the state's vast dark skies promise a stellar future for astrotourism, positioning WA as an ideal stargazing destination.
Read the full article here
Establishing a Dark Sky place and quality testing
My imaginary dark sky is darker than your imaginary dark sky
Establishing an IDA Dark Sky Reserve, Park or Sanctuary takes a lot of work by many people over an extended period, years even, until that happy, champagne moment when you achieve IDA accreditation.
But all is not bubbles and froth after that cheerful event. The IDA requires an Annual Report from you to reassure them that your Dark Skies haven’t morphed into blighted inner-city star-gobbling mush.
Read Andrew Cool’s firsthand adventures and his pursuit for Dark South Australian Skies!
Andrew D. Cool MASA, FRAS
Do you have a dark sky experience, event, or upcoming activity?
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