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Open Letter re: Light Pollution

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Matthew Herbik. I have lived in the Pocono Mountains for the last 15 years. One of the reasons I chose to live in this area is one of the natural resources: the beautiful, dark, starry night sky. I’m an amateur astrophotographer. Over the past 15 years, there has been a lot of construction in the area of all kinds: residential, commercial, and industrial. During this time the light pollution has increased dramatically as can be seen on this link:

http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/

It is my hope that you consider personal changes such as turning off exterior lights, adding motion detectors, or by using lighting that faces downward (or adding light shields to existing fixtures) rather than creating more glare and pollution. I intend to send this letter to all local government agencies in the hope that we can have laws drafted which will preserve one of the less talked about attractions the Poconos has to offer. I’m not asking for laws that would restrict growth and development, but to just restrict the ever increasing light pollution. There are ski slopes that are lit up like Christmas trees after hours when they are not even in use. A simple way of directing the light where it is needed (light shields), would reduce these light pollution footprints drastically. A wonderful example of well planned and ecofriendly lighting is Mount Airy Casino. They want to attract attention and do so with ecofriendly lighting. For instance, they do not have lights blazing into the night sky. All outdoor lighting has downward facing light guards which prevent stray light from polluting the night sky.

The light pollution issue isn’t a new one and many major cities around the world can observe only 1 star, our sun. All other stars are drowned out by light pollution. It may be too late for them, however it is not too late for the beautiful night sky of the Poconos. I will send this letter to my neighbors in the hopes that they will join me in enjoying our amazing night sky by turning off their lights and passing the word on to others.

Thank you for your consideration,
Matthew Herbik

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