Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer in May

It's another day over 70 degrees. It was nearly 100 F on my porch yesterday afternoon, and this morning I biked to work in a t-shirt, sunglasses, and no jacket! The best joys of May are the increasingly longer light, the magic of many blooms (azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs, and dogwoods), and bike to work month. Oh, and the snowflake like drifts and flurries of the cottonwood dander. ah chooo!

The light rail construction around UW has detoured me most mornings down a gravel path, and around the boat yard, where I sailed as a UW student. Up past the stadium, the baseball park and the purple track, out to the metal sculpture studios. I've enjoyed the new mix of athletics and arts and a relatively empty road of solitude. I enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Night Skies --a valuable and threatened natural resource

I've always said that I can see more stars from my front porch in Seattle, where I can also see the city skyline, than I ever could growing up in my suburban home in Connecticut. The light pollution out East is huge. Turns out that light pollution continues to be a problem world wide, and now dark skies are a threatened natural resource. Last weekend I attended a talk by Chad Moore who runs the Night Skies Division of the National Park Service. Yes, that really exists. Cool huh? Chad opened his talk with this inspiring little video. 

He went on to give us a history of humans looking out into the heavens. Galileo, a guy so famous we know him by only one name (just like Madonna, Cher, Oprah, Bono, and Sting) said look for yourself. Too bad that got him put under house arrest. You see, if we look out of our own, we can better know ourselves The fact that the sky does not exist for our own benefit, however, became the cornerstone of environmentalism.The milky way is the backbone of the night, said Carl Sagan.

So beware of light trespass, where 50% of lights are wasted. Instead look towards sustainable lighting solutions: only WHERE needed, only WHEN needed, use SHIELDING, avoid blue, minimum AMOUNT, maximum EFFICIENCY. Look up!