by Anura Guruge
Maybe it hits me the hardest because I only saw the Milky Way as an adult when I came to the U.S. (on my 2nd time around) in 1985 and lived way, way, way out in the sticks in rural Maryland, about 30 miles west of Baltimore. There is too much light pollution in Europe unless you can get way out (and then in the U.K. you have the clouds).
Yes, you can still see it, quite well, from the Lakes Region if you are lucky. But, totally unnecessary, totally uncalled for light pollution is becoming more and more of a problem.
We live on a dirt road. In the 27 years I have been in the U.S. (this time around), for 63% of that time. I have never had town water in any of the 6 homes I have owned in that time. 4 of them also had septic tanks. So I have always lived out in the sticks. Part of it, certainly, was the reaction of moving here from the U.K., which being a small country is considerably more congested.
What really confounds me is people who move to dirt roads, like the one we live in now, only to discover that they are afraid of the dark! So they have to have all these lights on to make them feel safe and secure. Cracks me up.
The guy next door is the worst. From what I can see he lived in parsonages, in the middle of town, for the last 25 years. He appears to be petrified of the dark. I went out last night at 10:45 pm to walk the dogs. His yard was lit up like Time’s Square. There is nobody around. It is 10:45. This is the country. But, he is not alone.
All of our neighbors seem to abhor the dark. They love those solar powered lights. I can even tolerate those since they are not bright. But, for some those are too tame. One of the neighbors, diagonally across, keeps his outside lights on all night, every night, year round. In winter he turns on a bright, outdoor spotlight that stays on 24/7 from October till April. They, who moved here from Nashua, don’t like the dark. That spotlight lights up our house and yard. More than once I had thought about sending him a check for about $30 to defray his electric bill because when that light is on I don’t have to use any of my outside lights. I just use his spare light.
I just wish people would give some thought to light pollution. It is a form of pollution. I am not the only one concerned. Even NASA is worried.