Non-Aggression, Floodlights, and the Aging Eye

In our ongoing journey back through the archives of the IDA Information Sheets, here are three more that are noteworthy and still relevant.

IDA Information Sheet 161 – April 2000
IDA’s Approach to People About Bad Lighting

Though this information sheet was produced in the year following my tenure as IDA Information Sheet Editor, I am sure this one was penned by David L. Crawford (1931-), co-founder of the International Dark-Sky Association.

In these hyper-polarized times, Crawford’s advice is even more important than it was in April 2000. Not only for how to talk to someone about their bad lighting, but for talking to anyone about any behavior born out of ignorance or the consumption of misinformation.

I have so many fond memories of hearing Dave Crawford, the good-lighting evangelist, speak. If I recall correctly, his father was a minister, so you can see where he began to hone his exquisite powers of persuasion and his always non-confrontational approach. He never talked down to you. Or over you. He was effective. “Avoid confrontation, even in a crisis mode. Be professional, and calm.” And, “It is critical to speak from knowledge and experience, not just emotion.” Words of wisdom. Even in the worst of circumstances.

IDA Information Sheet 158 – October 1999
Shielding Floodlights

Bob Crelin, inventor of the phenomenal GlareBuster (sadly, no longer available), and author of the children’s books There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars and Faces of the Moon, wrote this information sheet. What a pleasure it was working with Bob and I treasured our conversations at IDA meetings in Tucson back in the day. I wonder what he is up to these days?

IDA Information Sheet 156 – August 1999
The Aging Eye – Some Basic Information

Dave Crawford wrote this information sheet, and it contains a wealth of information. Notice how he hits the major points multiple times and yet from a variety of angles. Repetition can help us to learn and internalize what we read.

From my own personal experience with “aging eyes”, I am finding it more difficult to drive at the posted speed limit at night. 5 mph less than the posted speed limit is more comfortable, and safer. I drive a low-profile vehicle with normal halogen headlights. But the many aggressive drivers now with high-profile vehicles (SUVs and pickup trucks—those with suspension lifts are the worst) and blindingly-bright headlights (the likes of which we have never seen before) are making night driving increasingly dangerous for the older driver. And there are many of us.

IDA Information Sheets

I recently received a membership renewal notice from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) quoting Christopher Kyba that if light pollution continues to grow at the rate it currently is, “Orion’s belt will disappear at some point.”

This made me remember that I had written an IDA Information Sheet back in March 1997 that also had addressed how light pollution could erase much of the Orion constellation. I wrote,

Orion, arguably the most prominent of the constellations, begins to look more like “Orion, the Hunted” under a magnitude +4.0 sky. Under a magnitude +3.0 sky, Orion is on his deathbed. When light pollution is so bad that we have a magnitude +2.0 sky, only blazing Betelgeuse, regal Rigel, and Bellatrix and Alnilam remain to regale us.

Speaking of the IDA Information Sheets, I was the IDA Information Sheet Editor from 1996-1999, during which time I revised and edited most of the existing information sheets, edited and added many new ones from a number of contributors, as well as contributed many new ones that I authored, though I never credited myself as the author. One of the ones that I wrote was IDA Information Sheet 120, referenced above (and shown below). I have a complete hard copy set of IDA Information Sheets 1 through 175, the last of which was published in June 2000. I also have WordPerfect Macintosh source files for IDA Information Sheets 1 through 158, the last of which was completed on October 27, 1999.

Here’s IDA Information Sheet 120:

It is a shame that these IDA Information Sheets are no longer available anywhere on the Internet. At the very least, they are of historical interest, and I would say that much of the content is still relevant. Presumably, the IDA still has all of these information sheets, but after the Dave Crawford era, they have decided to remove access to them.

Finally, I want to express my disappointment that the International Dark-Sky Association has recently decided to change their name to DarkSky International. They are still in the process of changing everything over, but once that transition is complete, the IDA will be no more. The break with the Dave Crawford era will be complete. I, for one, will never forget how much Dave Crawford was able to accomplish during those early years, and how proud I was to have been a part of it.

The IDA/DSI is still a great organization, and I strongly encourage you to generously support it, as I do. It remains the most effective organization in the world addressing light pollution and the loss of our night sky and the natural nighttime environment.