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Stargazers now have their Graceland. The Channel Island of Sark, located 80 miles south of England, has been designated as the world’s first dark-sky island.
Dark-sky communities are places with very little to no light pollution. As a result, the stars are far easier to see and more fun to look at. According to a buzzy article from SPACE.com, Sark is just 4.5 square miles and has “no public street lighting, no paved roads, and no cars.” In other words, save for the occasional flashlight or matchstick, there aren’t a lot of things to interfere with the nighttime display, which includes “meteors streaking overhead and countless stars on display.”
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) makes the call on whether or not a community deserves to join their movement. And plenty would like to. The Burlington Free Press explains that dark-sky legislation “has been embraced by about 300 countries, cities, and towns.” At first this might sound like something only nature enthusiasts would really care about, that’s not so. The United States military is also getting behind the legislation. Too much light can interfere with drills at military bases.
And while they don’t exactly get a say in the matter, it’s worth noting that creatures big and small would likely also be in favor of more dark-sky rules. Again, according to the Burlington Free Press, there is evidence that “nighttime lights disturb animals and ecosystems.”
You can learn more about the dark-sky movement at the IDA’s official site. The organization is about a lot more than looking at stars. Members are also active in educating the public about the hazards of unnecessary artificial light. The site includes information on how to become a member and steps that can be taken to reduce light pollution, lower your CO2 emissions, and save a fair bit of money on your electric bill in the process.
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