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Our guest blogger, Liberty Lausterer, is back with another introspective look at our square state. Liberty moved to Wyoming within this past year, and offers us her perspective at life in the Cowboy State from a new resident’s eyes.
HITCH YOUR WAGON TO THE STARS
Here’s a scary thought. According to Tyler Nordgren, author of Stars Above, Earth Below: Astronomy in the National Parks, 50% of children born this year will never see the Milky Way. I’m no astronomer, but I’d say that’s pretty tragic news.
At a recent talk Nordgren gave at UW, he shared how light pollution is quickly turning the night sky into a rare commodity. We have now entered the era in which families across the U.S. will have to pack their kiddos into a car and drive a lengthy distance to a national park (spending lots of money on gas and lodging and drive-through meals), all so their kids can see the stars. And in some cases (such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park) not even the parks are immune to the devastating effects of light pollution.
The good news is we in Wyoming don’t have many city lights. It’s one of the many things I love about living in a sparsely populated state! But what our children, and our children’s children, will see in the coming generations depends a lot on the choices we make today. From the lights we install in our yards to light up our walkways, to the street lights we approve as communities, the fate of Wyoming’s night sky rests in our hands.
image by Tyler Nordgren
John Muir, the naturalist, said “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” My husband and I have stopped turning the front porch light on when we leave for the evening. I guess you could say it’s our small act of gratitude for the gift of this incredible Wyoming sky we share. So hitch your wagon to the stars!