Reader's View: Dark Sky Week shines light on light pollution

Our esteemed president Ciindy Hakala contributed this to the Duluth News Tribune -- one more step to more night sky in our region!

The Bortle Scale of night sky visibility

Reader's View: Dark Sky Week shines light on light pollution

Posted on Apr 6, 2016 at 9:43 p.m.

I am writing to bring attention to International Dark Sky Week. Created in 2003 by high school student Jennifer Barlow, International Dark Sky Week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. Each year it is held in April around Earth Day and Astronomy Day. This year, celebrations run through Sunday.

Light pollution is a growing problem in the Twin Ports and around the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Light pollution happens when light is directed where it is not needed and not wanted. This can impair our ability to see safely, sleep soundly and see the stars. It also can impede the habits of birds and other wildlife.

The International Dark-Sky Association estimates that 30 percent of outdoor lighting is wasted annually in the United States alone. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce light pollution. By shielding lights and by using motion sensors and timers, we can light only what we need, when we need it. This saves money and energy — nationwide, as much as $3.3 billion and 21 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Whether you care about saving money, being healthy, sleeping well, wildlife, energy conservation or seeing the night sky in all its glory, the Dark Sky Movement has something for you.

Cindy Hakala


The writer is president of Dark Sky Duluth (

Cynthia Lapp