Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Starry Nights Harrisonburg!

The last week of March (leading up to Earth Hour) The End of Night author and JMU professor Paul Bogard and JMU planetarium director Shanil Virani inaugurated Starry Nights Harrisonburg, a series of events to raise awareness of light pollution's wide ranging impacts and spur action to reverse the trend on campus, in Harrisonburg, and throughout the Shenandoah Valley.  IDA executive director Bob Parks was Wednesday's featured guest speaker and the following evening Virginia IDA chapter co-leader (and JMU alum) Laura Greenleaf delivered a presentation prior to a panel discussion on lighting and campus safety that included Wake Forest Police Chief Regina Larson and several JMU student advocates.  Chief Larson confirmed what research and experience continue to tell us:  lighting is not a stand alone crime deterrent, lighting can backfire and aid criminal activity, and overly bright, glaring, and poorly designed lighting is the enemy of good visibility.  You can read coverage of the event in JMU's The Breeze here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Light pollution's ongoing toll on migratory birds

This past Sunday the Washington Post magazine's cover story asked the question "Can the carnage caused by city skylines be stopped?"  We know that it most certainly can if we respond with political will and grassroots support for policies and practices that reverse our indiscriminate use of excessive, unnecessary, and poorly designed lighting.  Light pollution affects wildlife both as direct sources in their immediate environment and as skyglow that erases the celestial compass.  Volunteers with city "Lights Out" campaigns spend their early morning hours collecting the avian victims of our addiction to artificial light at night, providing crucial scientific documentation and data.   Read the Post magazine story here and learn more about the Fatal Light Awareness Project here.

Starry Nights Harrisonburg coming up!

Author (The End of Night) and JMU faculty member Paul Bogard and JMU planetarium director Shanil Virani have planned a week-long series of events:  Starry Nights Harrisonburg that will run from Monday, March 24th through Friday, March 28th and feature everything from night hikes and planetarium shows to panel discussions and a film competition.  IDA executive director Bob Parks is the featured speaker on Wednesday night and on Thursday Va. chapter co-leader (and JMU alum) Laura Greenleaf will provide a presentation and join in a panel discussion on campus lighting and safety.
The above link will also take you to media coverage on the week's events and the goal of an ongoing movement to reduce light pollution in the Shenandoah Valley.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hidden costs of light pollution video from InsuranceQuotes.org:


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Clarke County Lighting Ordinance

Check out Clarke County's lighting ordinance:


Open main Zoning Ordinance document. Outdoor lighting ordinance is section 6-H-11, or enter outdoor lighting in search box

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Danville Streetlights

A citizen of Danville, Lee Vogler, is attempting to convince his city council, that turning off unnecessary streetlights would save on the electric bill. A benefit would be reduced light pollution. I hope this idea is heeded, and passes on to other localities.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Do dark skies increase crime? I think not. After all, criminals need to see, to "safely" commit a crime. And if they have their backs to a glaring, unshielded light, and the victim is walking toward it, with impaired vision as a result, the criminal has the advantage.

I have recently seen articles that show law enforcement's reaction to a crime is to warn people against darkness. At the local state university, several robberies took place in the dark early hours of the morning. The safety office issued a warning to all students and employees, not to avoid early morning hours when few people are around, or to walk in groups if they must be out at that time, but to stay in well lit areas. I called the office and was told that the crimes occurred on streets with streetlights at every block. The spokesman insisted that darkness was a factor because the crime took place at night, and that the incidents occurred between the streetlights, rather than directly under. For generations, the immediate reaction to crime has been to increase lighting without any real data to back up the reaction.

In my own home county of Powhatan, there have been recent daytime burgleries of residences. One of the main suggestions included in the article, by law enforcement, was that people should light up their houses front and back, as being one of the best ways to repel intruders. Where is the logic in that? These were daytime burglaries.

A recent petty crime took place at a local gas station. A blogger wrote in following the article that this was surprising, considering how well lit the parking lot is at night.

Of course I know that concealed source lights are needed, when working or walking outside at night, for safety reasons. But lighting areas as if to help guide in aircraft, to prevent crime, just isn't logical, from my own observations.