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Keep the night skies dark

Submitted by Keep Pickens Beautiful

    "Once a source of wonder -- and one half of the entire planet’s natural environment—the star-filled nights of just a few years ago are vanishing in a yellow haze.
    Human-produced light pollution not only mars our view of the stars; poor lighting threatens astronomy, disrupts ecosystems, affects human circadian rhythms, and wastes energy to the tune of $2.2 billion per year in the U.S. alone." (International Dark-Sky Association, http://www.darksky.org)
    Light pollution is any adverse effect of artificial light, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, decreased visibility at night, energy waste, and more(http://mcdonaldobservatory.org). 
    As our community grows and additional structures and businesses are built, the need for lighting is inevitable. But we have options, and it’s up to us to make choices that will help preserve our amazing night skies.
    Now is the time to establish some guidelines that will help preserve our dark skies. Many communities throughout the United States have adopted ordinances, including Cherokee County (Cherokee County Zoning Ordinance Article 25 – Outdoor Lighting and Road Glare).
    Once obtrusive lighting is installed, it’s difficult to remove. Let’s use lighting that will provide adequate (actually superior) security while also focusing the light where its needed….downwards - illuminating an intruder, not the guard or observer.
    While its important to install county guidelines, there are many things we can do at home to help reduce light pollution and road glare.        You can start with your own yard by adopting good lighting practices.
    You have many options to adequately illuminate your property without negatively affecting your neighbors.
    Blinding, glaring lights are not always the most effective security measure; focused lighting is a much better deterrent to unwanted visitors.
    The solution to light pollution is 90 percent  education and public awareness, and 10 percent technology.
    Show examples of good lighting to your friends and neighbors. Once people see it in action, and understand its implications for cost savings and enhanced visibility, they are far more likely to adopt good lighting practices on their own.| (http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/darkskies)
    Please let our local officials know that you believe preserving our dark skies is important. While reducing our light pollution at home is a step in the right direction, controlling lighting at retail centers is much more significant.
    Let’s follow the lead of communities like Flagstaff, Arizona, Homer Glen, Illinois, and the other International Dark Sky Communities, as well as Cherokee County and their new Outdoor Lighting and Road Glare ordinance.
     Let’s keep Pickens County’s skies dark so we can preserve our nighttime environment.

 

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