Federal Government efforts to mitigate the impacts of light pollution on nocturnal wildlife are being extended to include night skies famed for star-gazing.
Australia’s relatively dark skies are a magnet for astronomers and night sky gazers of all kinds, and three regions in NSW, Queensland and SA have been officially designated as dark sky places by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Before borders closed, Australia’s dark sky destinations were experiencing a growing influx of Northern Hemisphere visitors seeking dark-sky viewing experiences unobtainable in their own countries.
The recently published Western Australian Government position Statement on Dark Skies and Astro-tourism – which the Shire of Gingin and the City of Wanneroo helped develop – clearly states its intention to preserve one of Australia’s unique natural assets, and heritage, while fostering new eco-tourism opportunities.
The federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is also looking at how to conserve, create, and protect Australia’s dark skies.
DAWE has contracted the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance (ADSA) to develop a report investigating the most appropriate mechanisms to limit the impacts of light pollution on the natural night-time environment.
The alliance says solving the problem of the loss of the natural night-time environment is a win-win proposition, with recent advances in outdoor lighting technology allowing for a relatively easy fix.
“Reducing the waste caused by ineffective light at night not only preserves wildlife, decreases energy consumption, and reduces the impacts on biodiversity, but generates jobs, brings people and place together, and creates a multitude of dark-sky opportunities and experiences,” the ADSA says.
To help identify ways to make it easy and beneficial to conserve our dark skies, the ADSA is asking local governments to participate in a brief six-minute survey for Local Government.