Category Archives: Dark sky

“International Dark Sky Week” resolution in Harrisburg

In April , the Green Team’s strong ally Senator Carolyn Comittap (Minority Chair, Environmental Resources & Energy) proposed that the last week in April 2022 be recognized as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania. Her resolution No. 284, cosponsored by Chesco Senators Kane and Kearney among others, unfortunately was not acted on. Let’s hope for a better reception in next year’s General Assembly!

See the video of Senator Comitta’s remarks here and the text below:

I’ve introduced a Senate Resolution designating the week of April 22 through April 30, 2022, as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania.

There is no experience quite like venturing outdoors and gazing up at the stars on a clear, crisp evening. It can truly put things in perspective and remind us of our place in the universe, and our connection to the environment and each other.

In addition, there’s a growing understanding of how over-lighting and excessive light pollution can negatively impact:

• Sleep patterns and circadian rhythms.

• Mental and physical health.

• Habitats for wildlife species, especially nocturnal creatures, insect life, and pollinators.

• Visibility for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

And our efforts to promote energy efficiency.

International Dark-Sky Association reports that 83 percent of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky.

I support the efforts of residents, businesses, and communities that are embracing environmentally responsible techniques to reduce light pollution and better protect the night sky.

Read the full text of the resolution below:


SENATE RESOLUTION No. 284 Session of 2022



Recognizing the week of April 22 through 30, 2022, as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania.

WHEREAS, The welfare and enjoyment of this Commonwealth is associated with its character, including its dark skies ambiance at night; and

WHEREAS, Preserving and protecting the night sky enhances the use and enjoyment of property through the use of appropriate lighting practices; and

WHEREAS, Nighttime light pollution continues to increase, further presenting adverse impacts on all Pennsylvanians; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania values energy consumption reduction practices; and

WHEREAS, Sustainable outdoor lighting practices are desired to decrease the human impact on the environment; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvanians can take action to reduce light pollution by considering the purpose of outdoor lighting, using the correct illumination level, limiting the duration of its use to legitimate need and choosing lights that emit lower amounts of harmful blue light into the nighttime environment; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvanians can implement environmentally responsible techniques recommended by the International Dark-Sky Association to ensure that lighting has a clear purpose, is shielded and directed only to where needed, is no brighter than necessary, is used only when needed and consists of warmer color lights with lower Kelvin ratings; and

WHEREAS, Lighting replacement and improvement projects that incorporate these principles will save energy and money, greatly reduce light pollution and minimize wildlife disruption; and

WHEREAS, Implementation of best practice dark sky policies and continued education can make a significant difference in this Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, The Senate recognizes that “International Dark Sky Week” highlights the importance of taking action to reduce light pollution to better protect Pennsylvanians and the environment; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Senate recognize the week of April 22 through 30, 2022, as “International Dark Sky Week” in Pennsylvania.

Light Pollution: Why it’s a problem and what we can do about it

by Professor Marc Gagné

Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but did you know that light can also be a pollutant? Since Thomas Edison’s patent of the tungsten light bulb in 1906, artificial electric lighting has transformed our lives. But in the process, we have lost an
important part of our human heritage: the night sky.

Less than 100 years ago, most everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky. Today 80% of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their home. Over the last century, the increased, excessive and widespread use of artificial light at night has not only impaired our view of the universe but has adversely affected the Earth’s climate through human energy consumption, numerous plants and animals that have relied on Earth’s regular rhythm of night and day for billions of years, and human health and safety.

Light pollution is a major contributor to the climate crisis. Large amounts of electricity are needed to generate light, and electricity is often produced by burning fossil fuels. Uncontrolled outdoor lighting wastes energy. As much as 50% of outdoor lighting is wasted, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to climate change.

Plants and animals depend on the daily cycle of light and dark to regulate reproduction, nourishment, sleep, and protection from predators. Scientific research has linked light pollution to negative and deadly outcomes for many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects, and plants.

For example, some nocturnal birds use the moon and stars for navigation during their migrations; and they can become disoriented when flying through brightly lit areas. Female sea turtles shy away from areas with bright lights, which interrupts their nesting patterns. Newly hatched turtles are so drawn to lights, so instead of heading to the ocean, they often end up on land instead.

Research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health as well, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, and breast cancer. Scientists have also established a link between light pollution and air pollution. Light from our cities can destroy nitrate radicals that form at night and help to cleanse the air.

In addition to the negative economic, environmental and health impacts associated with light pollution, we are losing a precious natural resource: our nighttime environment.

Outdoor lighting illuminates the sky, hiding the stars and changing how we experience the night. If you would like more information about light pollution and what we can do now to improve our nighttime environment, the International Dark-Sky Association is a good place to start.

Despite a century of uncontrolled outdoor lighting, there are ways to combat light pollution that will make a difference right away. The West Chester Green Team is addressing the problem of light pollution by creating a local Dark Sky Initiative.

If you would like to learn more about the West Chester Dark Sky Initiative, please contact Marc Gagné at The Dark Sky committee’s kick-off meeting will be held in the West Chester University Planetarium on Tuesday, February 1st at 6:00 PM. All are welcome to attend.