Brownsville Dark Sky
Movement

The South Texas Astronomical Society is teaming up with local partners to fight light pollution in Brownsville and save our night sky.  Please help us designate Brownsville a Dark Sky Community by adding your name to the petition below. 

Implementation in Brownsvile

Small Changes can have a huge impact!

Implementing a dark sky ordinance is not going to happen overnight. It would take an organized, continuous, and united  effort to get Brownsville designated as an International Dark Sky Community. If we start now, and begin to incrementally redesign and apply the ordinance, we will see long-term benefits!

Planned dark sky communities use the natural landscape to block out light from other houses and combat light pollution with sparse strategic placement of street lights to achieve optimal road navigation and safe pedestrian sidewalks. 

What is the Dark sky protocol?

Dark sky protocols are outdoor lighting ordinances that enforce “quality of light over quantity”. Their implementation, along with public education and awareness of the benefits of the mindful use and placement of lighting, are how cities achieve the status of an International Dark Sky Community. An International Dark Sky Community is an organized community (such as a city like Brownsville) that demonstrates dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation of a dark sky protocol.

how dark will it get? really dark?

No, on the contrary. Applying a dark sky protocol does not mean Brownsville will be shrouded in darkness or that streetlights and vehicle headlights will no longer be allowed. The target is to incrementally reduce the components of light pollution, including light trespass (lighting where it is neither intended nor needed) and the excessive man-made brightness most cities end up with if not addressed in time. The goal is to keep the light on the ground and out of the sky!

What are the benefits?

  • Support of healthy hormone production, cell function, & brain activity
  • Decrease in mental conditions caused by or related to sleep disorders
  • Maintaining normal feeding, mating, & migratory behavior for animals
  • Preserving the natural night sky provides more stargazing opportunitie
  • This results in higher quality of scientific research in the field of astronomy

Negative impact of light Pollution:

  • An increase in energy consumption
  • Disruption of wildlife & ecosystems
  • Interferes with research from astronomical observatories & blocks our view of the stars
  • Adverse health effects — increased anxiety, interruption of circadian rhythms, & more…

feasible solutions:

  • Utilize light sources of minimal intensity
  • Implement shielded & downward-facing streetlights
  • Integrate timers & movement sensors for outdoor lights
  • Install lower pressure sodium lights on the “warmer”/amber end of the spectrum
  • Make incremental changes to the city’s light ordinances to maintain consensus

The big Picture:

Stop looking at your smartphone and look up...

“When one truly steps back and looks at the stars, they are seeing history. They are seeing the stories of ancient cultures through constellations and the light produced by stars millennia before humans were even on this Earth. Humans have always tried to make sense of the stars and of the wonder that comes from them. We have used them for guidance, for explanations, and for research. Stars are intertwined with the history of man. We are on this planet because of one and we are alive because of one. Looking at the stars is more than looking up at night, and it is more than just seeing a few white dots if you truly look.”

-Michelle Bellman

Join the Brownsville Dark Sky Movement!

Join us in making an impact!. Let’s work together on reducing the ever-expanding glow of cities. Unnecessary lighting is also a drain on the economies and environmental wellness of cities. According to data sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2011, 13 percent of residential electricity use in the United States is for outdoor lighting.

DARK SKY RESOURCES

Learn More About the the Dark Sky Ordinance!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy study in 2011, thirteen percent of residential electricity use in the U.S. is for outdoor lighting.
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IDA estimates that thirty percent of all outdoor lighting in the United States is wasted thanks to unshielded light on streets and in parking lots.
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That adds up to $3.3 billion and the release of 21 million tons of CO2 per year. To offset all that, we’d have to plant 875 million trees annually.
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Support our Dark Sky Implementation Partners: