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Open AccessArticle

Assessment of Citizens’ Actions against Light Pollution with Guidelines for Future Initiatives

1
GUT LightLab, Faculty of Architecture, Gdansk University of Technology (GUT), 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland
2
International Dark-Sky Association, Tuscon, AZ 85719, USA
3
Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Gdansk University of Technology (GUT), 80-233 Gdańsk, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124997
Received: 30 May 2020 / Revised: 12 June 2020 / Accepted: 15 June 2020 / Published: 18 June 2020
Due to the wide reach of media reports about scientific research and technological tools such as the world wide web (WWW), the Internet, and web browsers, citizens today have access to factual information about the negative impact of artificial light at night (ALAN) on their dark skies, and their health and well-being. This means they can now make educated decisions and take the necessary steps to help protect themselves and their communities from disruptive light pollution. Whilst this action is positive and welcomed, unfortunately, according to collected data, not all such initiatives have been successful. Although our understanding of this groundswell movement is deepening, further studies are required to complete a worldwide picture of the current situation. This paper therefore investigates the various actions taken by citizens, as well as the challenges, methods, and tools involved, regarding good practices initiated by grass roots activism on how to reduce existing and potential light pollution. The results of a comparative analysis of 262 international case studies (lawsuits and online petitions) reveal that, since the 1990s, there has been an increase in the number of legal cases related to light pollution due to the rise in public awareness, the availability of scientific knowledge via the Internet, and the ability to take accurate lighting measurements and perform lighting simulations. Also, in the last decade a new tool for digital participation in the form of online petitions has established a new movement of citizen action to mitigate the effects of light pollution. Based on this information, a seven-step framework involving recommendations for citizen action has been developed. It is expected that this new knowledge will benefit those citizens planning future efforts involving the development, implementation, and monitoring processes of outdoor lighting. Additionally, it might support the evolution of planning and policy approaches that are sustainable and necessary to improve the application and installation of ecologically/biologically responsible illumination for towns, cities, and natural habitats. View Full-Text
Keywords: light pollution; human health; LEDs; LED lighting; artificial light nuisance; artificial light at night; ALAN; sky glow; public health; citizens’ participation; lighting conflicts; lawsuits; online petitions; e-petitions; Campaign to Protect Rural England; CPRE; International Dark-Sky Association; IDA; Earth Hour; International Dark Sky Places Program; grassroots organizations; NASA Earth Observatory images; review light pollution; human health; LEDs; LED lighting; artificial light nuisance; artificial light at night; ALAN; sky glow; public health; citizens’ participation; lighting conflicts; lawsuits; online petitions; e-petitions; Campaign to Protect Rural England; CPRE; International Dark-Sky Association; IDA; Earth Hour; International Dark Sky Places Program; grassroots organizations; NASA Earth Observatory images; review
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Zielińska-Dabkowska, K.M.; Xavia, K.; Bobkowska, K. Assessment of Citizens’ Actions against Light Pollution with Guidelines for Future Initiatives. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4997.

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