Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Turn the lights out, fer cryin' out loud!"*...

I have learned that natural darkness has a powerful effect on people unused to its experience - which includes most urban dwellers. But between the energy price inflation and a "dark-sky" movement, that could be changing.
In a trend that has been accelerating in the last five years, hundreds of cities, states and federal governments have enacted laws that address light pollution or retrofitted streetlights, the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association reports. Twenty-eight states have passed or are debating laws limiting light encroachment.

Grass-roots groups are pushing the fight. The Dark-Sky Association has seen its membership grow from about 600 a decade ago to 11,000 worldwide this year. Lights Out America has brought its campaign to dim the lights for an hour and install low-watt bulbs to several major cities this year, and it is planning events in Chicago and other cities in March. [More]

While it gets little credit, the presence of true quiet and natural darkness contribute strongly to the desire of city-dwellers to move out by us. I suspect these ingredients nurture a sense of security hard to duplicate with gates and guards.

I know they soothe my spirit. And more darkness would be a step forward to a better future.

* Direct quote from my late father, usually followed by, "Do you think we own the power company?"

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