News: International Dark Sky Week comes to Wairarapa

International Dark Sky Week has reached our Wairarapa rohe for the first time, with the Wairarapa Dark Sky Association this week distributing a home lighting guide to every letterbox in the South Wairarapa/Carterton areas.

“These householders will be the first to become part of the proposed Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve, an initiative begun four years ago to preserve, protect, enhance and promote the fabulous dark skies that grace our part of the firmament (heavens),” Association chair Viv Napier said in a statement to mark the week.

International Dark Sky Week, April 22 – 30, is designed to help raise awareness of the impact which uncontrolled lighting has on wildlife, the environment and human existence.

While it may seem harmless, light pollution has far-reaching negative impacts and consequences for all living things, from insects to animals, plants, trees and people, she said.

The widespread nature and use of uncontrolled public and private lighting has led to the current world-wide problem which means more than 80 percent of the world’s people can’t get a clear view of the starscape above where they live.

That’s not the case in the southern half of Wairarapa, where the two Councils have now put in place outdoor lighting regulations which help control the type and output of outdoor lights.

Their collaboration to bring in new lighting rules has set the foundation for the region being able to seek International Dark Sky Reserve status from the international body.

Only the McKenzie-Tekapo area has such status for its skies in New Zealand so far, but up to a dozen other groups are now pursuing the opportunity.

Some are even contemplating Aotearoa/New Zealand becoming the world’s first dark sky nation.

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Association pamphlet drop is to help reinforce the message of International Dark Sky Week: better lighting will help provide an environment where all life can thrive – and where the community can better discover and explore the night sky, Mrs Napier added.

As the International Dark Sky body notes: “Light pollution is increasing at twice the rate of world population growth and 83 percent of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky.”

It also disrupts wildlife, impacts human health (by disrupting sleep patterns), wastes money and energy (needlessly lighting the night sky), contributes to climate change and blocks our view of the universe.

The pamphlet sets out the key ways each household can reduce night-time light pollution and so enhance star-gazing and night sky viewing for everyone.

It recommends a “home lighting inventory” to help determine whether your home is night sky friendly, and offers simple ways to change home and workplace lighting to sharply reduce excessive light pollution.

As the IDA notes: “a few simple changes can lead to lighting that is both beautiful and functional, without contributing to exceessive light pollution.”

On its website, International Dark Sky Association sets out five principles for responsible outdoor lighting which will make a home “dark sky friendly.”

Those details are here:

The Wairarapa Dark Sky Association is here:

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support