Thursday, June 04, 2015

Light Pollution

One of the things that has really been bothering me lately is light pollution.  I remember as a kid growing up at Flathead Lake how amazing the stars were at night up there.  That was part of what was cool about being at the lake.  Now more and more people have moved in and what was once a remote location with very few people has become almost a city.

Recently a neighbor built a large shop on a property not far from my little cabin.  It has lights between each bay and they often are left on at night.  It is lit up all the way around except for the back and the lights are really bright.  Paying for the electricity is no big deal to a lot of these folks.  They have so much money that energy conservation isn't a consideration for them.  The problem with all of these lights is that they don't just light up their own property they shine across several properties including mine.  It's so bright I put up a black army blanket over my already dark curtain and the light still bleeds through the sides into my bedroom at night.

It's one thing to light up your own property, but it's another to impose that light on someone else.  You don't or at least shouldn't have that right.  I'm reading a book called The End of Night by Paul Bogard.  The book defines that situation as "light trespass".  If you must leave lights on at least use fixtures that direct the light down. My neighbor here in Spokanistan built a giant shop behind my house.  On that shop he put a giant bright light that lights up my back yard and the back of my house and also the neighbors on the other side of him.  So no matter if I go to Montana or stay here in Spokanistan I've have someone's light pollution to deal with.

Here's a pic of me in Montana back in the day with my future cabin in the background. The stars used to go all the way down to the horizon in all directions.  I guess those days are gone, and I noticed that it's getting harder and harder to see the milky way up there thanks to all of the light pollution.  It will be gone soon too.  How very sad...