Sky Quality and Access to Starlight
What is the problem?
Currently, the three main classes of threats to the quality of the night sky and to access to starlight are: artificial night light (ALAN), the emission of radio wavelengths and the contrails of satellites in Earth orbit. low (LEO).
The inappropriate and abusive use of outdoor lighting, especially in urban areas, makes it increasingly difficult to observe the night sky in its pristine magnificence. In addition, remote locations chosen to host the most sophisticated astronomical observatories because of their convenient location are gradually being threatened by light pollution, radio signal interference, and artificially induced climate modifications. Likewise, space debris is becoming a global problem due to its threat, especially to communications and security of Earth observation satellites and the study of climate change. More recently, a new additional negative impact on night sky observation has emerged, the mega constellations of LEO satellites.
85% of the world’s population lives under polluted skies. In contrast, more than thirteen hundred million inhabitants on the planet do not have access to electricity.
The advance of light pollution is erasing the stars from our skies, causing the deterioration of a legacy with profound cultural, scientific, environmental and aesthetic repercussions.
Overlighting has become a global phenomenon that affects most towns and cities. The inefficiency in lighting causes an unjustified excess of energy consumption and therefore economic and increases the level of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Light pollution alters habitats, ecosystems, species, alters the biological cycles of plants and affects the relationships, orientation, reproduction and physiology of many animal species. And not only of wild life, but also of humans, linked to a circadian rhythm of hormones and biological variables dependent on day and night, activity and rest, where an imbalance of these factors directly affects our health, as corroborated by numerous studies by the World Health Organization.
What can we do?
Awareness in the protection of the night sky is awakening from the hand of tourism, in those spaces that have already begun to conserve and disseminate the night as a value, and that awaken in the individuals who visit them a perception of who we are, from a global point of view, a transversal axis to the whole of humanity, cultures and countries.
This perception of the sky as a resource to be safeguarded not only for science, but also as a cultural, environmental, biodiversity, health and quality-of-life heritage and as an engine of sustainable economy through star tourism, emanates from the Declaration of La Palma (2007) on “Defense of the Night Sky and the Right to Starlight” and its responsible body, the Starlight Foundation.
For its part, the International Federation of Businesswomen BPW Spain, an entity with consultative status with the United Nations, has always been strongly committed to the Sustainable Development Goals of the Global Compact. Focused on its fulfillment from a gender perspective so that equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a reality.
The starry sky is an opportunity for development and empowerment for many women in rural settings that tend to be dramatically depopulated. Women from indigenous and local communities are often also repositories of traditional knowledge, which is critical to ensuring the livelihoods, resilience and culture of their communities.
For this, it is important to promote technological innovation to have intelligent lighting, without wasting energy, compatible with our sense of security, avoid radioelectric pollution and regulate the use of outdoor space, making available to society all the resources and knowledge that heaven offers us.
1ª – “DTS RS Gudar Javalambre”
Mobile version: «Movimiento». Nicolás Valdés
2ª – “Menorca Reserva de la Biosfera”. Antoni Cladera
3ª – “Reserva Starlight Fuerteventura”. Carlos de Saá
4ª – “Montsant and Milky Way over Mare de Deu”. Aleix Roig R