Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon
Why should we preserve the night sky? We have advanced technology to the point that we can now strike out the dark of night and replace it with a perpetual twilight. No longer do we have to fear the dark and the scary monsters that come out when the sun goes down. Why does Dark Matter anymore?
All life on Earth evolved with a natural day and night cycle, over millions of years. Night is part of life’s DNA.
Appreciation of the night time sky is ingrained into our very being. Humans have been inspired by the night sky for over ten thousand years. Early humans looked at the stars and created an oral culture surrounding the constellations that has been woven into our very nature over time. We have long been inspired by the nighttime sky and that inspiration appears in mathematics, science, art, poetry, music, and religion.
If we take away the dark of night many plant and animal species will be lost; human health will be negatively impacted; our children will lose the infinite star-filled vista that fills us with a sense of mystery and wonder; and much of the culture of our distant ancestors will cease to have meaning.
As Ronald Reagan said in 1984,
If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.
And that includes a dark night sky.
So does Dark Matter anymore? Yes it does. And it’s worth preserving and protecting.