Promote this event to educate consumers on Dark Sky legislation, how they can help the planet, and products you offer that will help.
Created in 2003 by a high school student, Jennifer Barlow, International Dark Sky Week (IDSW) has become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. Both events are detailed on the International Dark-Sky Association’s (IDA) Web site (www.darksky.org). According to the organization, the goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.
Light pollution is believed to have detrimental effects on views of the night sky, disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.
Here are some ways that your store can spread the word about IDSW during April 20-26 — and all year long:
Join Online. Your store can post articles that detail Dark Skies awareness on your Web site, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Encourage customers to follow the International Dark-Sky Association on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Pinterest and learn more about participating partners. (Your store can become a partner; email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how).
Help Them Check Their Homes. Host a seminar that explains how homeowners can participate, explaining how outdoor lighting fixtures should be well-shielded — or at least angled down — to minimize “light trespass” beyond their property. Do they have security lights that stay on all night? Demonstrate how adding a motion detector, which can pay for itself in energy savings in just a few months, is an easy solution. There are additional suggestions for “Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting” on the Dark-Sky.org site. Inform customers how to perform their own outdoor lighting audit.
Spread the Word. Explain how bright, glaring lights are counterproductive to good nighttime vision. Glare diminishes people’s ability to see well at night because the pupils constrict in response to the glare — even though everything else around is dark. Ask the local library if you can put up an IDA poster that illustrates good and bad lighting. Your store can make its own Dark Skies awareness poster using photos of the earth (i.e. from NASA) and a short message explaining that your showroom offers Dark Sky-compliant products that can help everyone in the community become better neighbors by eliminating glare and light pollution.
Throw a Party. Why not host a “star party” during Dark Sky Week in your showroom? Visit the Night Sky Network (https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov) to find an astronomy club in your store’s region and invite its members to your event. Join GLOBE at Night’s Adopt-A-Street program and “map” light pollution in your community (www.globeatnight.org).
Make the party a family event in the evening with Dark Sky activities that could include an outdoor lighting observation game, a telescope for star viewing, hands-on crafts, or tips on how to conduct their own light pollution audit at home. The International Dark-Sky Association Web site (www.darksky.org) has a free downloadable activity book called “Nighttime Rocks!” that provides fun activities for stargazers of all ages.