International Dark Sky Week

Following on from Earth Hour, this week (March 31 – April 7) is International Dark Sky Week, a week to celebrate the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution.

The week organised by International Dark-Sky Association who lead the way globally in the mission to preserve the night, was created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, since 2003 the week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month.

International Dark Sky Week isn’t just about seeing the stars at night, the week aims to draw attention to the widespread environmental impacts of light pollution and promotes simple solutions to solve it.

Tenerife - Mount Teide - Joshua Tobin Photography

What is Light Pollution?

Most people are aware of air, water and land pollution, but light is just as pollutant. Light pollution is the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light, which can have a serious environmental impact for humans, wildlife and our climate.

The night-time environment is a vital natural resource for all life on Earth, but the glow of uncontrolled outdoor lighting has hidden the stars, radically changing the night-time environment. Artificial light not only blocks people in urban areas from seeing the stars, but it also harms the environment and our health.

The IDA lists the 5 ways in which light pollution hurts the planet:

It devastates wildlife. – Plants and animals depend on the earth’s daylight and dark cycle to sustain behaviours.

It may harm your health. – Studies have suggested that artificial light at night can have a negative effect on human health with an increased risk of obesity, sleep disorders, depression and more.

It can make you less safe. – The IDA says that there is no clear scientific evidence that increased outdoor lighting deters crime, more so, poor outdoor lighting can decrease personal safety by making property and possible victims more visible to criminals.

It wastes energy and money. – IDA studies suggest that as much as 50% of outdoor lighting is wasted, which increases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to clime change.

It can rob us of our heritage. – Our ancestors experience a night sky that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature. Today due to light pollution millions of children worldwide won’t know the wonder of the Milky Way.

Losing the Dark planetarium show:

How to celebrate Dark Sky Week!

– Get together with friends and go outside at night. Loads of us never take the opportunity to experience the night-time environment. Go outside, look up and look around. (Did you know the UK is home to 12 protected night sky places?)

– Help spread the word about light pollution and the importance of dark skies.

– Collect data about the night sky and share it with the Globe at Night programme

– Do your bit to reduce light pollution by only using lights when and where needed, talk to your friends, family and neighbours and spread the word online – 

Find our more about International Dark Sky Week and the IDA. And if you’re living with us at Host, don’t forget, you can also help reduce your energy usage and light pollution by making small changes to your day and support one of our three chosen charities in the process as part of the #HostEnvironmentalPledge.

#HostEnvironmentalPledge.
Getting serious about the environment we live in.

To become more ‘environmentally friendly’, Host is launching the #HostEnvironmentalPledge campaign to encourage responsible behaviour and drive sustainability across our sites throughout the UK and Ireland.

It’s a simple campaign! If we can reduce our overall utilities (electric, water and gas) consumption by 1% then we will donate £10,000, 2% reduction means £20,000, 3% is £30,000 and so on, to 3 charities; Student Minds, LandAid and Just a Drop.

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