Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Protecting the dark

It was my pleasure yesterday to go caving with Sharrah, the new environmental education person on the island. Sharrah makes the rounds of the island's eight settlement schools, teaching the kids about the natural world and reasons for protecting it. Exuma has been launched on a period of rapid development with the arrival of a first large resort and environmental protection is suddenly a priority.

My own priority has been -- in writing and a teacher workshop -- to make the case for dark skies. Most of the new artificial lighting is decidedly unfriendly, and the island has begun to show up on nighttime satellite imagery from space. Any light we can see from up there is doing nothing down here but obliterating the stars.