“Dark Skies” Might Be a Hard Sell in Oklahoma

Kaye Beach

*Update June 15,2011

Like I said-Dark Skies might just be a hard sell…Due to an sudden “dark sky” event, the lighting ordinance proposal had to be postponed due to a mighty storm that appeared to centered right on top of the Norman Municipal complex area where the City Council meeting was being held last evening.

June 15, 2011

High winds tear roof from apartment building, snap power poles in Norman. . .

Down burst hits Norman, NWS says

The down burst was centralized in Norman, Pike said.

The storm hit and knocked out the power in the municipal building just before the lighting ordinance was to be considered.  The meeting had to be  canceled.  It has been rescheduled for June 21st.

June 14, 2011

If the idea of “Dark Skies” doesn’t give you are warm and fuzzy feeling all over, it could just be that you are an Oklahoman.

But don’t be so hasty.  There are more ominous aspects to this proposal than just the foreboding connotation of threatening weather that come to mind when dark skies are mentioned in these parts.

“Everyone is a citizen of the world. At some level we should all be its stewards with accountability toward preserving its environment. One component of that is the preservation of dark skies or the prevention of light pollution”

GLOBE at Night . . .enlists the help of students to collect data on the night sky conditions in their community and contribute to a worldwide database on light pollution.

Read more about Dark Skies Awareness

There will be a Norman City Council meeting today at 5:30 pm to include consideration of the controversial lighting ordinance.
CONFERENCE ROOM – MUNICIPAL BUILDING
201 WEST GRAY
TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2011 at 5:30 P.M.

See City Council Agenda

The proposed lighting ordinance is back up for a vote.

Norman Transcript Articles

June 11, 2011

Lighting Ordinance Resurfaces

April 13, 2011

Lighting ordinance draws opposition

The proposed ordinance, O-1011-44, is being presented as primarily an energy conservation measure.

SEC. 431.6 — COMMERCIAL OUTDOOR LIGHTING STANDARDS

(Established by Ord. No. O-1011-44 — ___, 2011)

1.         Purpose and Intent.  It is the intent of this Section to define practical and effective measures by which the obtrusive aspects of commercial outdoor light usage can be minimized, while preserving safety, security, and the nighttime use and enjoyment of property.  These measures are intended to reduce light spillover, minimize glare, and decrease resource waste.

Council Committee compromise version 6 7 11 Commercial Lighting vers 3 (2)-1

April 15,2011

Norman City Council and Public Discuss New Lighting Ordinance

Almost every seat was full on Tuesday night during the city council meeting; many were filled by students, all dressed in black shirts.

The students of Norman North High School’s astronomy club attended the city council meeting on Tuesday, April 12. They waited patiently in the back for their turn to speak their opinion to the city council. They all wore black shirts to show their support for the lighting ordinance. As the four students and one of their teachers stepped toward the podium, a power point presentation came up on the screen. The students passed forward a petition with 637 signatures in support of the proposed lighting ordinance proposed by the City Council.

http://simplysalmagundi.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/norman-city-council-and-public-discuss-new-lighting-ordinance/

Norman Public School teachers apparently are using our taxes to indoctrinate school kids on new   “rights” and using them to instigate the implementation of city policy that offers us these new “rights” invented by international organizations  in lieu of long established natural and legal ones.

The students, however, are to be commended.  They overcame the usual apathy and turned out in force to defend what they are being taught is a right.

The Starlight Initiative

An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity.”
Starlight Declaration. La Palma, Spain 2008.

http://www.starlight2007.net/theinitiative.htm

Too bad the schools aren’t teaching about them about their true rights to life, liberty and property that are recognized and guaranteed to each and every one of us by law in the United States.   For the first time, I am thankful that my daughter chose the more physical and less academic route at Norman North.  I don’t think I could face this sort of  public realization that my tax dollars had been used in this manner.

Outside Agitators

“Grzybowski said the class is Norman’s outside agitators to the city for the issue of light pollution, encouraging City Council to preserve the night sky by passing lighting ordinances”

“The students — steered by Norman North astronomy teacher Eileen Grzybowski — have collected readings throughout Norman as part of Globe Night 2010, a worldwide campaign to fight light pollution —“

(Source March 15, 2010  Star light, star bright  The Norman Transcript)

GLOBE Night 2010 centerpiece of the Dark Skies Awareness Global Cornerstone Project for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) in 2009 a UNESCO initiative.  (More information below)

Mrs. Grzybowski’s husband is the author of this publication;

The Canadian River and floodplain in Norman, Oklahoma: Environmental perspective

Joseph A Grzybowski (Author)

Unfortunately, Amazon.com lists this publication as out of print

Joseph A. Grzybowski, Ph.D. is a Biologist/Ornithologist [scientist who studies birds]and Professor who serves on various local, regional and national committees involving endangered species and environmental management.” link

IYA2009 Boosts Globe at Night to Record Number of Dark-Skies Observations

Source: International Year of Astronomy 2009 Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Norman, Oklahoma, high school students, their teachers and local amateur astronomers produced a map of nearly 500 SQM measurements that canvassed their city. Local teacher and amateur astronomer Eileen Grzybowski, with students Brittany, Emily and Braden, then made a well-received presentation of the results to their local Environmental Control Advisory Board. (Emphasis mine)

They [the City of Norman’s Environmental Control Advisory Board]  want us to partner with them and be the outside agitating voice in the newspapers and elsewhere to put the issue of revising our lighting ordinances front and center, Grzybowski reported.

They[the City of Norman’s Environmental Control Advisory Board] made suggestions as to how the presentation could be revised to make a bigger impact.

They want us to obtain pictures taken from the sky down to the Earth from an airplane and pictures of our ground-based sites of high light pollution and dark oases, and they want us to include data about security issues and cost savings. http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28094

**See below for information regarding the IYA2009 and “GLOBE at Night”

 

“Our next step is to go before the City Council and do the light demo and discuss our preliminary results.” Says Grzybowski

Which they did on May 13, 2010.

NORMAN PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR SESSION AGENDA

MAY 13, 2010

 

PRESENTATION BY EILEEN GRZYBOWSKIS SCIENCE CLASS OF THEIR STUDENT LIGHTING PROJECT.

Link

City of Norman Environmental Control Advisory Board

Investigates, prepares plans for, and recommends programs regarding the preservation and enhancement of the environmental quality of the City as well as administers variance procedures in the Air Quality Control Ordinance. Meets the 3rd Wednesday; 5:30 p.m., Norman Municipal Building Multi-Purpose Room, 201 West Gray. (3-year term)

US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement

Members

  • Amanda Rook – 07/14/09 – 07/14/09 – 10/27/12 – 5
  • Mark Jensen  – 11/10/09 – 11/10/09 – 10/27/12- 2
  • Dr. Moira Waterbury – 11/10/09 – 11/10/09 – 10/27/12 – 5
  • Asia Scudder – 04/27/10 – 04/27/10 – 10/27/13  – 4
  • Yves Badaroux – 04/27/10 – 04/27/10 – 10/27/13 – 3
  • Dave Boeck – 04/10/07 – 10/27/10 – 10/27/13 – 4
  • Larry Steele, CHAIR – 10/27/08 – 10/27/08 – 10/27/11 – 7
  • Jane Dye – 10/27/05 – 10/27/08 – 10/27/11 – 7
  • Neil Suneson – 08/09/05 – 10/27/08 – 10/27/11 – 2

http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/environmental-control-advisory-board

About those Dark Skies

2007 First meeting of the Starlight Reserves Working Group.

The overall aim is to discuss the problems of identification of specific catego­ries of natural sites, skyscapes, cultural nightscapes, and excep­tional sites for astronomical observation, as “Starlight Reserves” for their possible nominations on the World Heritage List.

www.starlight2007.net/pdf/ProgFVStarlight.pdf

 

IYA 2009
The United Nations declares 2009 the International Year of Astronomy.

20 December 2007: the United Nations 62nd General Assembly proclaimed 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The Resolution was submitted by Italy, Galileo Galilei’s home country. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is an initiative of the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO.

THE STARLIGHT INITIATIVE (Granting all the “right” to observe the stars which will obviously clash with your right to light your property!)

An unpolluted night sky that allows the enjoyment and contemplation of the firmament should be considered an inalienable right of humankind equivalent to all other environmental, social, and cultural rights, due to its impact on the development of all peoples and on the conservation of biodiversity.”
Starlight Declaration. La Palma, Spain 2008.

http://www.starlight2007.net/theinitiative.htm

The initiative is designed as an international campaign in defence of the values associated with the night sky and the general right to observe the stars. It is open to the participation of all scientific, cultural, environmental, and citizens’ organizations and associations, as well as public institutions and other public and private bodies willing to effectively cooperate in the conservation of clear skies and the dissemination of the knowledge related with their observation. The final aim of the initiative is to strengthen the importance of clear skies for humankind, emphasizing and introducing the value of this endangered heritage for science, education, culture, technological development, nature conservation, tourism and, obviously, as a quality-of-life factor.

http://www.starlight2007.net/theinitiative.htm

GLOBE at Night is a fun, international citizen-science event that encourages everyone— students, educators, dark sky advocates and the general public— to measure the darkness of their local skies and contribute their observations online to a world map. The program is a centerpiece of the Dark Skies Awareness Global Cornerstone Project for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) in 2009. Its goal is to raise public awareness of the impact of artificial lighting on local environments by getting people involved. http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/gan.php

GLOBE at Night in Norman

United States: 475 Sky Quality Meter measurements & 475 Orion measurements during GLOBE at Night in Norman, Oklahoma àlighting inventory for city

http://www.starlight2007.net/pdf/lapalma2009/WalkerS4.pdf

Dark Skies initiatives are concerned with land development control policies and part of a “Global Assessment” done on behalf of an International Union

GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF LIGHT POLLUTION IMPACT ON PROTECTED AREAS

The Dark Skies Advisory Group of the Specialist Group works to reduce light pollution and protect a natural night sky. While it focuses primarily on protected areas and sites, the group is also concerned with appropriate design and land development control policies.

www.interenvironment.org/pa/dark.htm

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the

world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a

democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and

NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists

in more than 160 countries.

www.iucn.org

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the importance of natural darkness to the ecological integrity of protected areas, and to the sustainability of healthy lives in healthy cities.  The Dark Skies Advisory Group has been established within IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas to help advance this recognition. 

“. . .ecosystems and wild species operate 24 hours each day, seven days each week.  They have evolved to cope with, depend on and take advantage of natural darkness.  A night sky without artificial light is therefore vital to the proper functioning of natural ecosystems.  Artificial lighting affects species migration patterns, predator-prey relationships, and the circadian rhythms of many organisms, to name just a few of the consequences of light pollution.”

Web site of the IUCN Dark Skies Advisory Group

The IUCN’s official mission is “to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.”

Members of the IUCN include the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, US Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior National Park Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, and hundreds of other federal, state and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and land trusts

Naturally-The Sierra Club supports the proposed lighting ordinances in Norman.

It is imperative that all Sierra Club members attend this important meeting to ensure that the proposed lighting ordinance remains effective and is even strengthened.

We also continue to urge Sierra Club members to individually contact their council members and the mayor asking them to adopt this ordinance as it is currently proposed or even strengthening the ordinance. Contact information including email addresses are located here for council members: http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/city-council and here for the mayor: http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/content/mayor.

http://www.oklahoma.sierraclub.org/redearth/newsletter/2011AprNewsletter.html

 “Dark Skies” Might Be a Hard Sell in Oklahoma 6 14 11 pdf

2 responses to ““Dark Skies” Might Be a Hard Sell in Oklahoma

  1. That darn light pollution…its gunna kill us and our grandbabies someday. I mean, forget that us poor lowly humans are designed to see better in lighted conditions and that light has provided our species with comfort and security for thousands of years. We really need to start PROGRESSING toward a darker age once again.

  2. Pingback: “Dark Skies” Might Be a Hard Sell in Oklahoma | don't tread on cat

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