Presentation #226.02 in the session “Education, Outreach, and Public Engagement”.
Successful mitigation of light pollution depends on an educated and motivated public working together on policy and scientific efforts. This straightforward statement depends on several requisite elements. This presentation focuses on securing an educated and motivated public. More specifically, it discusses the efforts of committed advocates to empower high school youth in Chicago, Illinois to work together on mitigating light pollution within the city. Some time ago, two of the authors began discussing Chicago’s light pollution. Outside their official capacities, they combined their shared interests and diverse professional backgrounds to begin crafting a comprehensive proposed lighting ordinance. Subsequently, these efforts expanded to include the third author and her supportive collaboration with high school students in the Adler Planetarium’s STEM teen civic action program YOLO (Youth Organization for Lights Out). Through these combined efforts, the YOLO students will analyze certain aspects of a proposed lighting ordinance, develop language for the lighting ordinance that reflects their perspective, and advocate their positions and adoption of the lighting ordinance to Chicago aldermen. This presentation will focus on YOLO, its students, their contributions to protecting the dark skies, and, their inspirational motivation. It will also highlight the means by which such a program can be replicated in other cities. For, our youth form the foundation of our future. And, we believe that many youth eagerly await for opportunities and adult trust to effectuate their inherent potential. Through these efforts, we hope to encourage you to find such youth and enable their leadership into tomorrow.