Guardian Article

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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Paul Freeman
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Guardian Article

Post by Paul Freeman »

Did anyone else see the excellent article on light pollution in today's Guardian? (page 13). Well worth reading; who knows, maybe a few other newspapers might get the message. Happy Christmas, Paul.

Paul Sutherland
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Post by Paul Sutherland »

You can read the article here. You may have to register to read it (registration is free).

Paul

Cliff
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Post by Cliff »

Dear Paul and Paul
I just read the "Guardian" article you kindly pointed us at (I am pleased to say it appeared for me with no need to register, which is probably just as well !!!!!).
I have to say I think the Guardian article is very good\excellent.
Having said that, I am not quite sure that the UK general public are yet quite ready to accept the message in exactly that same format (?).
The "God made light, and light is good!" is still an almost overwhelmingly accepted belief, even though Christianity now seems to be in decline (although I suspect other religions pronounce the same thing (?) ).
The other thing I wonder about is do\would the general public think of the CfDS (Campaign for Dark Skies) and IDSA (International Dark Skies Association) as a bunch of cranks\fanatics. Hopefully my fears about that possibility are wrong, but I think there is still need to advance cautiously in some respects, although in other ways I think that the CfDS treads too softly.My own ideas tend towards a soft cop, hard cop approach, but I think a good choice of name for any campaigning is needed.
I would mention that I think the Pro-Hunting lot made a wise choice in calling themselves "The Countryside Alliance".
I have to admit to having been a anti-hunter going back a few years, (although I did enjoy the odd hunt-day celebration in the Lake District many years ago).
But now there is officially no fox-hunting using dogs, I am feeling a bit more simpathetic to hunters.
However, as they say any publicity is better than no publicity. So a forceful well co-ordinated, well named "anti-light pollution" campaign might be a good move.
Furthermore, a neighbour (a good engineer including electrical work!) now seems to have mellowed somewhat insomuch as now accepting light pollution is an environmental problem.
Best of luck for the New Year from Cliff
PS ; CfDS may be a very good name for the astronomical fraternity but is it the right name to put to the general public ?

Deimos
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Post by Deimos »

Cliff wrote:Dear Paul and Paul
The other thing I wonder about is do\would the general public think of the CfDS (Campaign for Dark Skies) and IDSA (International Dark Skies Association) as a bunch of cranks\fanatics.
.....
PS ; CfDS may be a very good name for the astronomical fraternity but is it the right name to put to the general public ?
I agree. I don't think the CfDS would be seen as cranks/fanatics but rather as a minority group arguing for their special interest/hobby (and one that represents no perceived benefit to the rest of the population). Personally I am convinced that arguing for reducing light pollution on the basis that a few amateur astronomers want to see more start will get nowhere. It might be a good argument or a bad argument but suggesting others are put to what they see as a perceived inconvenience just in case there is an amateur astronomer living in the area who cannot drive to darker sites will not have much impact on lighting policy.

Given the issues facing society I think that piggybacking on the rising costs, global warming, environmental considerations is the way to achieve change. The validity of the case does not change and is not diluted - just the way the change is achieved is different. People are bound to be more concerned about paying ever increasing Council Tax Bills, bound to be more concerned about Global Warming (and the impact it will have on THEM). Unfortunately we live in a fairly selfish society and many will consider any changes in terms of how it affects them - hence bills, future for their children, etc will probably prove more effective outside the astronomical community.

Ian

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Post by mike a feist »

Indeed Cliff. & Ian. It is easy to sniff at complaints concerning a subject/hobby that does not concern you...ie from non-astronomers re light pollution.
This was brought to mind locally when there were plans to build near Brighton Marina and the local surfers were up in arms because it would affect the 'apparently best beach for surfing' in the area. One's initial feeling was perhaps "who gives a -----" "barmy people out in the rough sea" etc etc without realising that surfing to surfers is as important as the sky to astronomers. They perhaps need to come up with something like "do you want to lose the great view" or even, to catch the eye and support of astronomers " do you want the additional light pollution that the building would bring?". maf

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