loader image

Don’t be afraid of the dark

March 13th,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

Don’t be afraid of the dark, it’s beneficial for us all: humans, other animals, insects and plants. Darkness lets the sky shine bright on most nights. We can easily turn off unnecessary outdoor lighting and install fixtures that aim the right kind of light downward instead of spreading it far and wide, erasing the sky. Keeping lights low allows us to enjoy starlight and moonlight. To this end, concerned citizens from the Chelsea-Wakefield area have formed a group called Natural Light and Soundscapes, drawing some of our inspiration and knowledge from the international Dark Sky Organization that even certifies communities and parks to promote astronomy and eco-tourism.

People take melatonin to help them sleep, but melatonin is the sleep hormone our bodies produce naturally if we immerse ourselves in darkness. The animals and birds whose habitats we light up at night don’t have such options and can become too disoriented and disturbed to nest, mate and carry on with their lives. Joining many municipalities in Quebec and around the world, La Pêche has expressed commitment to uphold Dark Sky policies, and we hope that Chelsea will twin with them to reduce unnecessary and harmful lighting. 

Exterior lighting is polluting the sky at an alarming rate. The good news is that light pollution is the easiest kind to handle quickly; with the flick of a few switches, installation of timers and dimmers, each household can dramatically reduce their harm on the environment. People may unthinkingly feel safer with lights ablaze around their homes, but there is no evidence that diminished lighting increases the risk of robbery or other crimes. On the contrary, motion detectors scare off intruders and improve camera image success. Clear instructions on best lighting reductions can be found on the websites of darksky.org and Quebec’s own preeminent, certified park Mont-Mégantic (meganticdarksky.org), which also includes an observatory and a team of scientists who produce educational material for all concerned.

The activities of Earth Day [April 22] must change our ways year-round. So we’ll get ambitious and expand the traditional lights out 9 p.m. to dawn to all five Mondays of April, inviting people to delight in more sky gazing; seeing a change all year round would be a heartening success. Members of Natural Light and Soundscapes will update you on a special evening event of star gazing in Chelsea to share the natural night sky on Earth Day. Our hope is that others will join our team (just email us at natural.light.and.sound.scapes@gmail.com), and that many more will make a habit of this simple joy: looking up and being able to see an amazing sky. Can we come together on this? 

Martha Nandorfy
La Pêche, QC

Latest Headlines

News

HELLO SUMMER!

THE LOW Down is on holidays!

The office will be closed from July 10 to July 23. There will be NO EDITION published on July 17 or 24. Our next edition will be on July 31.

News

A fiery 40th

Wakefield’s treasured wooden bridge – a village icon that had spanned the Gatineau River for 69 years – was a fiery inferno. Villagers were out on their docks or scattered along the riverbank, watching the structure crack and bust apart span by span – many of them, like Garnett and her partner, Norma Walmsley, aghast as the violent flames tore through the nearly 90 metres of wood in a matter of minutes. It was precisely 40 years ago from this edition’s publication date. 

Letters

Hills peace and justice group giving us hope

The Editor, In response to Stephanie Turple’s “Upholding western values” (July 3 edition) and what the group Hills for Peace and Justice calls (H4P&J) “‘genocide and colonization’” (June 12 edition) As per the March 26, UN Human Rights Council’s reasonable...

Hard-hitting local news delivered right to your mailbox (or in your inbox!)

Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription

Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription