International Dark Sky Week takes place from April 5 to April 12, an annual movement promoting the conservation of the dark sky and raising awareness of light pollution.
KEVIN COSKREN: International Dark Sky week is a celebration of the night sky. People who witness the dark sky get connected to our place in the universe above. Today, most people live here, in cities and urban areas.
RUSKIN HARTLEY: It's become an unusual occurrence these days. In fact, we estimate 83% of people around the planet live under a light-polluted sky.
KEVIN COSKREN: Ruskin Hartley, executive director for the International Dark Sky Association, says the week is not just a celebration, but also a movement to raise awareness of light pollution and its impact on natural darkness, wildlife, and even people.
RUSKIN HARTLEY: Light pollution is growing at twice the rate of population growth. As the population around the world is growing, we're using light less and less efficiently. Light is so cheap. It's so ubiquitous that we can essentially light any place we wants on the planet.
KEVIN COSKREN: As cities expand, the starry nights fade away. Hartley says there are over 100 internationally recognized dark sky areas around the world. This includes popular parks such as the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. The week-long movement promotes responsible use of artificial light that is not wasteful on energy consumption and can conserve what little dark areas remain to offer a portal into the cosmos.
RUSKIN HARTLEY: Being part of the dark sky movement doesn't mean you have to turn off all the lights. It means that you want to be talking with your community and your neighbors about ways that you can use light responsibly.
By doing so, you're helping the planet. You're saving money. You're saving energy. You're helping wildlife, and yes, creating a world where people will be able to look up once again.
KEVIN COSKREN: To learn more on how you can get involved with promoting the night sky, you can visit the International Dark Sky Association's website at darksky.org. Reporting for AccuWeather, I'm Kevin Coskren.