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Introduction

The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) believes in the importance of the New Zealand nighttime environment in terms of the cultural, historic, educational, scientific, ecological and recreational importance of the stars, other nighttime phenomena, and the geographic uniqueness of New Zealand at night.
Wasteful outdoor lighting reduces the intrinsic and amenity value of the nighttime environment for urban and rural New Zealanders. As nearly 87% of all New Zealanders live in towns and cities, the effects of inefficient or ineffective night time outdoor lighting have a significant impact on our population. While the RASNZ's interest is clearly focussed on the night sky, there are other impacts from poor lighting such as wasted energy, ecological, environmental, health and social effects which can be addressed with new technologies and good design.
The RASNZ Dark Skies Group works on behalf of RASNZ to promote quality lighting by making submissions, raising awareness and commending quality lighting by participating in the IESANZ Annual Lighting Awards.


Losing the Dark

This video created under auspices of the International Dark-Sky Association seeks to raise public awareness of aspects of light pollution and gives some suggestions how you can help to mitigate it.
Quote: Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The yellow glows over cities and towns — seen so clearly from space — are testament to the billions spent in wasted energy from lighting up the sky.

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Road Safety is Compromised by Outdated Lighting Technology

Finally some thinking about why we light rather than how much should be applied.
Performance based lighting for streets and highways!

Quote: Poorly designed road lighting can increase the risk of accidents, yet 'lighting is presumed to improve road safety performance and so we've stopped our exploration of it,' says an American road safety transport official who is visiting New Zealand in March.

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The Dark Side of Light

A useful article.
The final paragraph is possibly the most important!
Quote: Such is the level of light pollution in our cities and towns that many people in the developed world have never experienced true darkness. It's bad for our health and bad for the environment. Now designers are hoping to use smart technology to turn down the lights.

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Our planet, Earth, is the most important ecosystem we have.

All life on our planet has developed under regular light and dark cycles caused by Earth;s daily rotations as we orbit around our star, the Sun. These cycles are what we call day and night. During the day our place on the earth is facing the sun. During the night we face away from the sun in the earth's shadow. With clear dark skies we can look out into the universe.

Actually there are two other light periods during a day called twilight, one in the morning when night brightens into day and the other in the evening when day fades into night.
Life on earth has adapted to these cycles of light to take advantage of those periods for feeding, or not being fed upon, to migrate – perhaps navigating by the stars, to breed safely or to find their mates with natural glowing lights.

Each period of the day has species that specialise in those conditions. Humans have adapted to be active in the day and to rest and recover at night. Daytime active species are called diurnal, nightime species are called nocturnal. Those active in the twilight zones are known as crepuscular.

Further natural light cycles are provided by the moon and by the seasons as we travel around the Sun.

These natural light cycles are essential characteristics that determine our ecosystem's (Earth's) integrity, form, functioning, and resilience.

Definitions

Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.  Wikipedia

Environment
environment includes—
• (a) ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities; and
• (b) all natural and physical resources; and
• (c) amenity values; and
• (d) the social, economic, aesthetic, and cultural conditions which affect the matters stated in paragraphs (a) to (c) or which are affected by those matters
NZ Resource Management Act

Intrinsic values
intrinsic values, in relation to ecosystems, means those aspects of ecosystems and their constituent parts which have value in their own right, including—
• (a) their biological and genetic diversity; and
• (b) the essential characteristics that determine an ecosystem's integrity, form, functioning, and resilience
NZ Resource Management Act

As we progress through the year and the seasons of summer, autumn, winter and spring, our night skies are directed to a different part of the universe and our local galaxy. In our southern summer we look outwards at night to the outer edges of our Milky Way Galaxy. In winter we can watch the central bulge of the Milky Way pass over head. In spring and autumn we are looking either upwards or downwards from the disk of the Milky Way.

With clear dark skies there is a changing parade of wonderful sights during the year. But how many stars can you see from your place? Do you live in a city, in the country, by the sea or in a Dark Sky Reserve? What you can see will depend on how many artificial outdoor lights there are and how they are designed and installed.

Globe at Night
You can take part in a worldwide citizen science programme to report on how many stars you can see from your place. Globe at Night
Follow 5 easy steps to report from your place on our planet. 5-steps