Dark Sky Initiative

A Bright Solution to Light Pollution

Johnny

Last Changed: Monday, 08-10-15

I have a logical, viable, reasonable, option to erase light pollution and restore dark skies — NLO and Moonlight Revolution. I would prefer to travel and present my starry sky proposals in conversations with astronomers and nonastronomers, but can’t.

The essence of my message: Adopt NLO, Nature’s Lighting Ordinance. Eliminate lights that desecrate nights.

Other choices are lies ‘n compromise, emotionless quicksand.

Carl Sagan on the "shores of the cosmic ocean"

Carl Sagan on the “shores of the cosmic ocean”

My credentials: 60 years doing and 30 years teaching “eyes-on” astronomy! I didn’t jam the science of astronomy down the gullets of my students so much as like, Carl Sagan, and others, offer them the art of astronomy, an emotional expedition along “the shores of the Cosmic ocean,” amongst the wonders of the Cosmos.

Doing so allowed me to inspire students who had no previous interest in science to love astronomy as I had as a youngster; and later, hopefully, leave a thirst in them for more, perhaps even ignite the fire, so to speak, to become a lifelong amateur or professional astronomer.

Be sure to see the episodes of the new COSMOS – A Spacetime Odyssey.

I retired from teaching earth science in Ames, Iowa, in 1999, as light pollution erased the Milky Way, leaving me and my students angry, chanting…

DE-LIGHT THE NIGHT!   DE-LIGHT THE NIGHT!   DE-LIGHT THE NIGHT!

…angry with the local SOBs, Satans Of Brightness, annually adding more light, killing OUR starlight! But, hey, we gotta keep the local $hame-ber of Commerce engine of economic development chuggin’ on down the tracks at full throttle-up, don’t we?!

Abrasives? Pitchforks? Torches, anyone?

 

Before leaving the classroom I asked an Iowa-born, Tonight Show host and amateur astronomer to help me control local light pollution by donating a few telescopes to our school. He jumped at my proposal (calling me from his home in Malibu).

It wasn’t every day the “King of Late Night” called me whilst in the middle of a class, teaching 9th graders astronomy… and donated 30, C5+ Celestrons in memory of his friend, Carl Sagan, the People’s Astronomer.  Here’s Johnny at work as Carnac The Magnificent, hosting the Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, 1962-1992.

And Her-r-r-re’s Johnny at play with his C-14 telescope.

Johnny’s desire: to place a plaque on each telescope reading, “In memory of Carl Sagan, from a friend of Carl Sagan.”  So now, when students bend over the eyepiece, they see that plaque and Johnny’s remembrance of Carl. The telescopes have opened windows upon the grand Cosmos to thousands of students, and will continue to do so into the future.

I hoped the telescopes would encourage the local business community (cabal?) to change their light-blighting ways, but I was wrong, dead wrong! Aside from a few business owners who did step up (Thank you!), the rest continued to pollute the night with their filthy light, most of which was totally unnecessary, light that desecrated the night. Greed!  And since those days back in the last century, more and more businessmen, because most are men, have added more and more, brighter and brighter lights to desecrate nights! GREED!

The telescopes, in near perfect condition after more than 15 years, are still being used; but the local SOBs and their $hame-ber of Commerce refuse to step up and eliminate lights that desecrate students’ nights! Why?   GREED!   Profit Before People (and Earth)!

If you haven’t already watched the animation, MAN, please watch it now, here.

Pitchforks ‘n torches? Abrasives?

Speaking of books: I love real books, not gizmos ‘n gadgets, not the constant and growing addiction to brevity and economy with words, and now, 140 characters!  WTF?

With a B. S. Degree in English — and an emphasis in geology (yes, it’s possible to get a Bachelor of Science Degree in English) — I worked as a geologic editor in War-shington, DC, but there’s more to editing than counting and cutting words.

This is a very small part of my library. Photo by G. V.

Many (most?) astronomers must flee like cockroaches to find truly dark, starry night skies. Imagine your favorite recreation or avocation — hobby or pastime, sport or game — suddenly taken away.  Golfers, sports fans, etc., envision driving 400 or more miles for a simple round of golf or to watch a game in person, or, or, or…

You’d go berserk ‘n ballistic, cavil ‘n carp, zonkers ‘n bonkers, be frenzied, fried, fit to be tied, frantic ‘n furious, unzipped, unglued, unhinged, unscrewed!  You’d run, crazed and crazy, through the streets with pitchforks ‘n torches and golf clubs(?) very abrasively screaming, howling, hooting, yipping, yelling…!

Where most astronomers / stargazers in the good Ol’ US of A live, they must drive hundreds of miles to find starry, dark night skies!

My plan to eliminate lights that desecrate nights – NLO, Nature’s Lights Only  or  Nature’s Lighting Ordinance – involves sacrifice, yes, and inconvenience…, words not used by current darksky.orgs. They hope, falsely, to rescue dark skies painlessly because most people, including astronomers, can’t be forced from their climate controlled ‘n comfortable Isle of Denial to a Locality of Reality.

Astronomers, etc., on their Isle of Denial? Crowded Island, East Wind. Painting by Nicola Bealing.

Pitchforks and torches at the ready?

I don’t enjoy being confrontational, folks, constant agitation, polarization, controversy. I don’t like being bilious, angry, grumpy, grouchy… I prefer to shun spotlights, all lights, for that matter. You?

I’d rather restore dark, starry skies being a kind, gentle, grandfatherly geezer; but the SOBs – arrogant, greedy bullies ‘n buzzards – desire to destroy and consume the night sky with their deadly light. They set the stage (with very bright lights!) for this discordant dilemma, so I’ll fight to death and beyond to kill lights ‘n restore starry nights with whatever word weapons I can wield!

I have not words (but I’ll find some) to express my rage as Earth and Sky are systematically, intentionally, methodically, willfully, deliberately, religiously (by the droning BBBs, Buy Bull Beaters), purposely, cold-bloodedly, pre-meditatively, ruthlessly, cold-heartedly, ripped and raped by the Capitalist (CrapitaLUST) Dictator-ship of fools, the cult of brainless business buffoons — Trumpsterboy or WallStreetClinton — whose only reason to live is the ultimate destruction and oblivion of our ONLY home, Earth – all for the sake of profit and possessions!

WHEW! “I’m feeling much better, now.” Recognize that line? It’s from a funny, old TV show, Night Court. Please return for Spotty and my finale, but first, click, watch, and laugh.

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Next: “Spotty!”