Presentation #114.04 in the session Dark Sky Heritage and Ethnoastronomy.
When viewed through the lens of today’s optical astronomy research, light pollution is a mechanical problem that deteriorates our ability to conduct meaningful and accurate research. When we broaden the scope of the discussion, we quickly find that astronomy is not alone, and that the problem— and therefore the discussion— is not only mechanical. From the biological impact on plants, animals, and humans to the loss of indigenous and ancient culture, dark skies are connected to everything. And when it comes to lasting positive policy development, we are stronger when we work together. This talk will focus on the criticality of recognizing and elevating cultural connections to the night sky in lobbying not only for legal policy, but the unspoken policy of individual communities and will highlight successes from my recent collaborations with the International Dark-Sky Association on proclamations as grassroots policy products for International Dark Sky Week in 2022 and 2023, as well as offer a platform for leveraging the strength of the astronomical community to increase the volume of all aligned voices.