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News DarkSky Updates

Vision and Values Update: Toward a More Equitable Dark Sky Movement

One year ago, IDA issued a statement centered on aspiring toward a more equitable dark sky movement. Like many of our peers, the events of 2020 not only demonstrated the need for reconciliation and reform – they brought us to a point of reckoning. Reckoning with the environmental movement’s history of exclusion and privilege that favored the white and wealthy.

Access to a naturally dark sky and quality lighting are not a privilege but a right. Light pollution impacts low-income communities disproportionately – and has only recently been recognized as an environmental justice issue, despite a troubling history. Harsh, inappropriate lighting affects quality of life and robs communities of their connection to the cosmos. Unfortunately, it is widely used by municipalities and housing developments under the guise of safety. Light justice is as much about access to responsible, community-friendly lighting as it is about access to the pure night sky.

Our work to promote light justice starts from within. Recognizing that this effort is a marathon and not a sprint, our team has worked over the last year to look inward through the lens of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA). With expert guidance, IDA’s team collectively revisited its purpose, vision, and core values to include robust and direct language addressing IDEA principles.

Despite our global reach, we have a long but essential journey ahead to become an organization that truly resembles, engages, and celebrates the rich diversity of the communities we serve. Our newly adopted Vision and Values Statement will guide us along the road to fostering access to functional, appropriate lighting, and starlit skies for all:

Our Vision: The night sky, filled with stars, is celebrated and protected around the world as a shared heritage benefitting all living things.

Our Purpose: To protect the night from light pollution.

Our Approach: By providing leadership, tools, and resources for individuals, policymakers, and industry, we will reduce light pollution and promote responsible outdoor lighting that is beautiful, healthy, and functional. We will bring the issue of light pollution to diverse communities worldwide with the goal of creating access to information about the destructive impact of over-lighting and the benefits of responsible lighting.

Our Values: In all our words and deeds we are guided by our core values.

Passion: We are enthusiastic advocates for the night that benefits all living things and its star-filled sky.

Credibility: We base our actions on evidence – where it is lacking, we proceed cautiously and support rigorous inquiry.

Relationships: We build enduring relationships to find solutions that benefit everyone.

Consensus: We strive for consensus and invite public participation.

Inclusion: We believe the night is a shared global heritage – for every person for all time, and light justice requires responsible lighting and access to a night, free of light pollution, for all communities.

Nonpartisan: We work to advance public policy without regard to political ideology.

Celebration: Our spirit is enriched by the wonders of the night—from the star-studded sky to the flash of a firefly.

Key Terms:

Light Pollution: Any adverse effect or impact attributable to artificial light at night.

Artificial Light: Light, ranging in wavelength from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared,
that is caused, directed, or used by humans for any purpose.

We are deeply grateful to the global community of advocates working to protect dark skies and improve lighting for the benefit of all life. We are committed to fostering an organizational culture that serves and represents them, and we invite you to join us in that journey.