…continuedHow I Beat Light Pollution in My Hometown
Others Who Succeeded
In response, Lance Diskan, John Grahame, and others founded the citizen-based Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition. Building on the positive relationships cultivated by local astronomers, the coalition broadened awareness of the benefits that dark skies bring to the community through many successful programs, including “Celebration of the Night” events, brochures, and good-lighting awards. They hang tags identifying quality light fixtures in retail stores. They met with community members and police to discuss security lighting issues and to allay concerns about compromising safety. Public education has been the most vital part of the coalition’s success, with a focus both on the stars and on good lighting’s benefits to all.
Now known by many locals as Dr. Dark or Captain Kilowatt, Pauley credits his success to his direct involvement with town lawmakers — presenting slide shows, organizing field trips to point out good and bad lighting — and also keeping the ordinance easy to understand. To address any opposition, Pauley discussed issues of visibility and safety, health effects, and crime studies. And he pointed out how quickly the town was losing its starry skies.
Since then the larger city of Hailey nearby has followed suit with similar lighting laws — also with Pauley’s help. Ultimately, Pauley would like to see statewide regulations formed.
To make the code-enforcement officer’s job easier, the ordinance’s standards are more hardware-based than performance-based. This way fixtures can be judged without having to measure light levels on site at night. Also key has been Talmage’s continuing involvement.