Dark Skies

Why should we want to preserve the night sky? Does “dark” even matter anymore?

As you look around at night in our valley, our various neighborhoods, and surrounding areas, it is apparent we are misusing our lighting, having created a ‘perpetual twilight.’ Although a dark, star-filled night sky is often thought of as important for astronomy or research, the grandeur of a dark night sky has proven to be critical to our health, our wildlife, and the environment as a whole.

Think about it: night is part of life’s DNA; the dark night sky is imprinted onto our very being. Our early ancestors created oral and written stories that included the constellations, and these are part of our cultures. And, the star-filled dark sky has inspired many in mathematics, science, art, poetry, music, religion and spirituality.

If we continue to have a perpetual twilight, our health will deteriorate, our children will lose the infinite star-filled vista that fills us with a sense of mystery and wonder, and the culture of our distant ancestors will cease to have meaning. So does darkness matter anymore? Yes it does, and it’s worth preserving and protecting.

We’re on a mission to keep our dark sky in the Ojai Valley and restore more of our view of the natural beauty in our wonderful stars above. Ojai Valley Green Coalition members are supporting the goal of becoming a Dark Sky model community, following the guidelines established by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA).

As we move forward on this, we’ll have projects and activities that that not only tell more Ojai residents and businesses about the health, environmental and safety impacts of better lighting to reduce or totally eliminate light pollution, but will  also inform you on ways you can achieve better lighting.

What can you do to protect the night sky and reduce your energy bill?
Make your lighting at home 100% Dark Sky and neighbor friendly. Not sure this will make a difference? You’ll be surprised how much light pollution is produced by poorly shielded home lighting, and it “hits you where you live.” If everyone fixed their lights at home, it would greatly improve the quality of the night environment around you, while at the same reduce your energy bill. How about that? Two for one.

Porch Light Project: a City of Ojai funded partnership
If you live in the Ojai city limits and have a porch light that you think might not be compliant with the city exterior lighting standards ordinance, we might be able to help at no cost to you. Please contact us for more information.

Click here for more Dark Skies information and resources.