Twinkle, Twinkle little star, how I wonder where you are.

A while back, quite unexpectedly, some contractors started digging up the pavement outside our house. Thinking it was a gas leak or other service and fearing that we might yet again have to fill up buckets or huddle around the fire, I went to ask them what they were doing.
“Putting in new street lighting” came the reply. Which was a shock as it was the first we had heard about it. Then I noticed that location of the street lamp was right outside our house. Not only would this mean it would shine into our bedroom, but far worse – the light from the lamp would obscure the sky at the front of the house for the telescope meaning half the sky would not be visible on our property! But did the council listen? No! And why did they suggest I had to put in a planning application for a 5m pole and small windmill in the middle of a farmer’s field, whereas they could put a 6m high light shining directly into our bedroom with not even the courtesy to inform us beforehand!
So, I have some sympathy with the WWD “Earth Hour” when they plan to “unite to switch off, as cities and towns across the globe prepare to dim their lights”. We don’t need half the lights on the streets and we certainly don’t need them on as long as they are. And if people were really told how much all this lighting is costing us on our rates, then I bet a lot more people would want less lighting for less of the time.
Year after year after year, the skies are getting more and more polluted by light, so that my children have only a few times in their life seen the full majesty of the night sky, particularly as they need glasses and never seem to have them available on the few occasions when the sky is so clear that there are no clouds to reflect the street lights from the Urban sprawl of Glasgow.
So, I’m in a dilemma on this one. Do I turn out the lights get out the telescope and hope for clear skies and appear to be supporting statements like this: “WWF’s Earth Hour is a fun and simple way for people to show their support for strong action on climate change”. Or do I buy a box of fireworks and aim to brighten up the night sky?
Or, as a sceptic doi I think positively: It’ll probably rain on 26th!

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