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Noctalgia

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#1 Jii

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 04:20 AM

https://www.space.co...skies-noctalgia

 

 

Humanity is slowly losing access to the night sky, and astronomers have invented a new term to describe the pain associated with this loss: "noctalgia," meaning "sky grief." Along with our propensity for polluting air and water and the massive amounts of carbon we're dumping into the atmosphere to trigger climate change, we have created another kind of pollution: light pollution.

 

 


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#2 Redbetter

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 05:18 AM

It is the same as scuba diving and reef systems and fishes.  I see what I can now, as both are becoming rarer and poorer.  The night sky is much brighter than it was decades ago, even in what are considered very dark sites today.  Reefs are much less diverse and more damaged now.  I have seen nearly pristine reef systems in prior decades and they are but a shadow of what they once were.    


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#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 06:46 AM

For some reason most professed ~environmentalists~ ignore this one --- not sure why --- ignorance, I guess. People are profoundly selective when crafting their outrage menus. And actually, I'm more concerned re' Light Pollution's affect on the environment fauna and flora... more than my astronomy hobby.   Tom


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#4 bunyon

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 08:42 AM

The turning point in LP battles will come with an actual effect on the environment rather than us weirdos complaining we can't see a galaxy any random person can bring up on the internet.

 

The effect of LP on observing can be fixed in an instant: Turn off the lights. It remains to be seen what long lasting effects decades of LP has on wildlife.

 

One assumes that long lasting effect will be less than the reef damage Redbetter cites above.



#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 11:01 AM

For some reason most professed ~environmentalists~ ignore this one --- not sure why --- ignorance, I guess. People are profoundly selective when crafting their outrage menus. And actually, I'm more concerned re' Light Pollution's affect on the environment fauna and flora... more than my astronomy hobby.   Tom

It's not ignorance, it's priorities.  When you're worrying about your town being flooded, the fact that a developer drained a lake you liked to look at from your living room is not high on your priority list.  Light pollution in astronomy is a major issue of a relatively small group of people.  They just happen to be the overwhelming majority of people on CN.

 

The politics of the issue, in a democracy, is a real problem.  There have been some gains when a group of people has been able to convince the local government that dark skies will make the town money.  Esthetics hold no sway.  As for the wildlife issue.  When saving wildlife runs up against economic concerns, the wildlife generally is on the losing side of the battle.  The Endangered Species Act is itself endangered these days.


Edited by bobzeq25, 19 September 2023 - 11:13 AM.

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#6 DanMiller

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 11:07 AM

It's not ignorance, it's priorities.  When your worrying about your town being flooded, the fact that a developer drained a nearby lake that you like a lot is not high on your priority list.  Light pollution in astronomy is a major issue of a relatively small group of people.  They just happen to be the overwhelming majority of people on CN.

I do wonder though if light polution is having an effect on farming both with crop growth and also farm animals.    Finding it harder for both to distinguish between night and day. 

 

Ok, had to look it up. How light pollution disrupts plants' senses

 

Light pollution disrupts pollinators' circadian rhythms as well as their general life patterns, which ultimately impedes plant reproduction. Several studies, the UK moth study included, have found that nocturnal pollination is diminished under artificial lights. A 2017 study found that nocturnal plant-pollinator interactions were 62% lower in brightly lit areas than in non-illuminated ones. When those interactions shrink, plants aren't as stimulated to produce pollen, which leaves less pollen for diurnal pollinators like bees.

 

Interesting.

 

Dan


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#7 Ron359

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 12:46 PM

It's not ignorance, it's priorities.  When you're worrying about your town being flooded, the fact that a developer drained a lake you liked to look at from your living room is not high on your priority list.  Light pollution in astronomy is a major issue of a relatively small group of people.  They just happen to be the overwhelming majority of people on CN.

 

The politics of the issue, in a democracy, is a real problem.  There have been some gains when a group of people has been able to convince the local government that dark skies will make the town money.  Esthetics hold no sway.  As for the wildlife issue.  When saving wildlife runs up against economic concerns, the wildlife generally is on the losing side of the battle.  The Endangered Species Act is itself endangered these days.

The problem is not democracy, or people 'selectively' being outraged.

 

 Given the single truth that the environment is what everyone depends on for existence, or at least not living at a subsistence level, all the 'issues' including LP are parts of the whole 'problem.'  The current technological situation is,  generating the power for the LED and other sources of LP also dumps enormous quantities of green-house gases into our thin layer of atmosphere that separates us and all living things, from the vacuum of space and deadly levels of solar radiation.  That imbalance from the past 3 million years at least of gases,  leads to climate change and a lot of extreme weather never experienced before like flooding, continent-wide wildfire smoke,  and mega-droughts, coral reef die offs, etc. 

 

In a capitalistic market system, the problem are the disparities between those who profit in the short term, from producing the pollutant at a lowest price that max' profit, and will say or do anything to defend doing what they're doing and those it negatively effects in the long term that pay the actual full price with health, lives,  or destruction or even just higher insurance rates for their property.  

 

As JFK famously said after the Cuban Missile Crisis, that brought us to the brink of the ultimate destruction of the current environment;  "We all breathe the same air and we all drink the same water."

 

LP is just one part of the "Whole Earth's " man-made interconnected problems we are experiencing now.   You can't fix just one part and expect it to  fix the whole.  You can censor certain words in a discussion of the problems, but that will only lead to false conclusions and more ignorance.  


Edited by Ron359, 19 September 2023 - 01:45 PM.


#8 TOMDEY

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 01:25 PM

Nocturnal Outdoor Light Pollution - bad for fauna, flora, life... but good for lighting companies, power companies, and politicians. The unfortunate outcome is preordained. Some things never change.    Tom


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#9 bobzeq25

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 02:11 PM

The problem is not democracy, or people 'selectively' being outraged.

 

 Given the single truth that the environment is what everyone depends on for existence, or at least not living at a subsistence level, all the 'issues' including LP are parts of the whole 'problem.'  The current technological situation is,  generating the power for the LED and other sources of LP also dumps enormous quantities of green-house gases into our thin layer of atmosphere that separates us and all living things, from the vacuum of space and deadly levels of solar radiation.  That imbalance from the past 3 million years at least of gases,  leads to climate change and a lot of extreme weather never experienced before like flooding, continent-wide wildfire smoke,  and mega-droughts, coral reef die offs, etc. 

 

In a capitalistic market system, the problem are the disparities between those who profit in the short term, from producing the pollutant at a lowest price that max' profit, and will say or do anything to defend doing what they're doing and those it negatively effects in the long term that pay the actual full price with health, lives,  or destruction or even just higher insurance rates for their property.  

 

As JFK famously said after the Cuban Missile Crisis, that brought us to the brink of the ultimate destruction of the current environment;  "We all breathe the same air and we all drink the same water."

 

LP is just one part of the "Whole Earth's " man-made interconnected problems we are experiencing now.   You can't fix just one part and expect it to  fix the whole.  You can censor certain words in a discussion of the problems, but that will only lead to false conclusions and more ignorance.  

I pretty much agree with _everything_ you said.

 

So, my differences.  Re democracy.  The majority of people are not very committed to solving _any_ of those problems, big or small.  While they may pay som lip service to them, it's certainly not important enough to let it be a major factor in choosing who to select as decision makers.   _Much_ less it being important enough for them to hit the streets.   So, the majority of decision makers don't make this a major issue, either.  And little (at least not enough) gets done.  On all the problems, large and small.

 

Note that, personally, I'm solidly in the minority who do care.  And I care a lot.  Actually made something of a career out of doing something about this stuff, when I could have made more money doing something else.  And I saw, for many years, how little "doing the right thing" motivated people at all levels.  It was nowhere near as important to them as fairly small amounts of money or power.

 

If that was the case for big problems, it's certainly the case for small ones, like light pollution in astronomy.  If we're going to make any progress on that in a democracy, we need to be able to show a large number of people why this is a significant problem FOR THEM.  I really don't know how we could do that.


Edited by bobzeq25, 19 September 2023 - 02:20 PM.


#10 Ron359

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 02:45 PM

I pretty much agree with _everything_ you said.

 

So, my differences.  Re democracy.  The majority of people are not very committed to solving _any_ of those problems, big or small.  While they may pay som lip service to them, it's certainly not important enough to let it be a major factor in choosing who to select as decision makers.   _Much_ less it being important enough for them to hit the streets.   So, the majority of decision makers don't make this a major issue, either.  And little (at least not enough) gets done.  On all the problems, large and small.

 

Note that, personally, I'm solidly in the minority who do care.  And I care a lot.  Actually made something of a career out of doing something about this stuff, when I could have made more money doing something else.  And I saw, for many years, how little "doing the right thing" motivated people at all levels.  It was nowhere near as important to them as fairly small amounts of money or power.

 

If that was the case for big problems, it's certainly the case for small ones, like light pollution in astronomy.  If we're going to make any progress on that in a democracy, we need to be able to show a large number of people why this is a significant problem FOR THEM.  I really don't know how we could do that.

In a 'true democracy' everyone, even the 'polluters' would vote for clean air and water, dark skies, mom, and apple pie.  A 'clean environment' is not a "political issue" until "special interests" make it that to defend their 'part' of the Golden Goose and maintain their status quo.

 

 Up until the last couple decades of the 20th Cent'  the then pol, "conservatives" were all for conservation (go figure) even establishing the federal  EPA and so many states followed that lead. A Dept. of Energy  to research alternatives, was started after the first major oil crisis of shortages was caused by OPEC cartel.    The scientists working for the world largest major fossil fuel  production company freely published their science papers predicting the 'green-house' effects uncontrolled releases of green house gases would cause.  

 

The term "green house gas" was 'invented' by the same Swedish scientist who discovered the IR heat trapping properties of CO2 and predicted the world's climate would warm because of it,  ~150 years ago!   So, the company even started up divisions dedicated to developing alternative cleaner sources because the then  corporate 'leaders' recognized it was time to start the change and they knew the oil would run out in a few decades or at some point anyway.  Then "investors" got involved.  Propaganda machines went into full gear to defend the status quo, the scientists were fired or left.   Their papers buried, literally in circular files and corporate basements.  

 

The rest is where we are now. Except 2/3 of the pop. weren't even born when the "conservatives" were for 'fixing problems' before they were against it, and telling us its all a hoax.  We're now 3 or more cycles of swirling further down the toilet.

 

 But the 'chickens are coming home to roost' and tens of millions  are waking up because they are effected directly.  In the 'west' we've had many summers of viewing ruined by wildfire smoke.  Never saw anyone east of MIss. R. complain.   This summer because smoke from Canada covered the 200 million in the east, it really got 'noticed.'   Stronger then ever hurricanes and tidal flooding are also getting the attention of joe six-pack who can't get insurance on his house in FL or can't take the NY subway cause its flooded.    This time its not un-like the mid-wests burning rivers and lakes, Love Canals and coal sooted cities, DDT poisoning Bald Eagles and lead filled water that finally raised and started the "environmental movement" in the 60s.    But yeah, its very late in the game and the defensive line of the status quo is only weakening slowly.   And so far at least,  in this democracy, we're always only one election cycle away from the status quo going the way of child labor, locked work place doors,  buggy whips, slavery, women and others not allowed to vote, whale oil for lamps etc.  


Edited by Ron359, 19 September 2023 - 04:19 PM.


#11 csa/montana

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Posted 20 September 2023 - 10:26 AM

Folks, let's not continue the subject of "Climate Change", or the thread will be locked.  Even though we allow politics related to LP; we still do not allow discussion of that topic.


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#12 Ron359

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Posted 20 September 2023 - 11:24 AM

 "Hello darkness my old friend,  I've come to talk with you again..."  

 

You know the rest.  Just repeat quietly when feeling 'noctalgic."  


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#13 aatt

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Posted 20 September 2023 - 11:51 AM

I think it is telling that here on CN, light pollution. Is one of the far less frequented forums. Eyepieces, reflectors and other equipment forums get most of the attention. You would think it should be the opposite given the fact fancy toys will not be used effectively as the problem continues to escalate. What we need are coalitions of groups such as medical researchers, environmentalists, biologists, fishery folks, birders, “weather” activists…, astronomers, data driven crime stats with law enforcement, farmers, outdoor enthusiasts and municipalities wanting to save money etc. there are a lot of groups with potential skin in this game of reducing ALAN.
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#14 Redbetter

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Posted 20 September 2023 - 07:31 PM

I think it is telling that here on CN, light pollution. Is one of the far less frequented forums. 

Light pollution is essentially a topic that can't be meaningfully discussed on CN due to the restrictions on the forums.  There is no way it can be non-controversial, etc.  Combatting light pollution does require political activism, because it requires regulations.  It is always going to be a fight about light trespass and the like, vs. folks who don't care that what they do directly impacts their neighbors.

 

I glance at the Light Pollution forum once every few weeks or months, but understanding the nature of the topic and CN's restrictions I take the approach outlined in WarGames: "The only winning move is not to play."
 


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#15 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 23 September 2023 - 11:41 AM

Who exactly is "we're" ?



#16 Old Speckled Hen

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Posted 23 September 2023 - 12:22 PM

It is always going to be a fight about light trespass and the like, vs. folks who don't care that what they do directly impacts their neighbors.

 

 

Excellent post.

Something was happening to our [western] societies pre covid. Covid, or rather the restrictions put in place, has accelerated that "something".

 

Example 

Neighbours [and ourselves] put up a combined new fence around the adjoining plot of ours and their garden. They wanted greater privacy, which is fine.

 

His neighbour directly over the "back" fence [who has a record of being, shall we say, appearing to be somewhat narcissistic ] said fine too. BUT as soon as the fence top board was nailed up he left them a calling card re privacy.

He moved his kids soccer goals from from garden to the roof of a shed to stand above the new fence line.....

 

 

 


Edited by Old Speckled Hen, 23 September 2023 - 12:39 PM.


#17 Freezout

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 02:43 AM

I have tendency to think that the future with regards to LP is not that depressing, on the very long term.

 

On short & middle term, we will suffer and our kids, grand-children, great grand-children might be their entire life ignorant of what is a really dark sky.

 

But on the very long term (many generations!), I think that our societies will have to go one of the following ways.

 

- development & awareness of all environmental issues. Humans are able to do this, as laws to protect environment are constantly being adopted, even in our current times (ozone layer regulations already a while ago, etc). In this optimistic view LP becomes sooner or later part of the awareness. Maybe development allows us to have more efficient technology than ultra-costly satellites to get internet. Humanity recovers some decent dark skies.

 

- the doom. Lack of resources makes energy wasting an unthinkable thing. LP decreases tremendously. Our offspring has to fight for drinkable water but has access to Bortle 1 skies everywhere. 


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#18 csa/montana

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 10:24 AM

Light pollution is essentially a topic that can't be meaningfully discussed on CN due to the restrictions on the forums.  There is no way it can be non-controversial, etc.  Combatting light pollution does require political activism, because it requires regulations.  It is always going to be a fight about light trespass and the like, vs. folks who don't care that what they do directly impacts their neighbors.

 

I glance at the Light Pollution forum once every few weeks or months, but understanding the nature of the topic and CN's restrictions I take the approach outlined in WarGames: "The only winning move is not to play."
 

Please tell me what restrictions prevent members from controversial posts?  All we require is to be respectful in responses, and stay away from the "hot" topics.  If these restrictions are too much to put up with, then CN is not for those that feel it's too restrictive.  There is a reason for our Terms of Service; and that is to keep all the forums respectful and family friendly.  Too much?  Sorry; but it's not going to change, so members wishing to participate in LP, please do, with these thoughts in mind.


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