Outdoor Light Pollution

first_imgThe federally funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory reports that poorly-aimed, unshielded outdoor lights waste 17.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in the U.S. each year. Photo cred: Brand X PicturesEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: Has anyone calculated the energy wasted at night by unnecessary lighting in and around buildings? What can we do to reduce our light footprint?             — Bill Rehkamp, via e-mailAmericans do squander a lot of electricity keeping things lit up at night while most of us sleep. This light blocks our view of the night sky and stars, creates glare hazards on roads, messes with our circadian sleep-wake rhythms, interrupts the patterns of nocturnal wildlife, and is by and large annoying. It also takes a financial toll: The federally funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) reports that poorly-aimed, unshielded outdoor lights waste $2 billion (17.4 billion kilowatt-hours) of energy in the U.S. each year.NOAO has monitored outdoor lighting levels across the U.S. and beyond for the past six years through its GLOBE at Night program whereby citizen-scientists track nearby outdoor lighting levels over a two-week period beginning in late March and submit their observations to NOAO electronically. A simple star map provided by NOAO is all that participants need to track their slice of sky. “All it takes is a few minutes for a family to measure their night sky brightness by noting how many stars are missing from an easy-to-find constellation like Leo (in the northern hemisphere) or Crux (in the southern hemisphere),” says GLOBE at Night project director Connie Walker. “This tells us how much light is directed upwards into the sky.”Over the last six annual campaigns, participants from 100-plus countries have contributed almost 70,000 measurements, giving project organizers a detailed picture of light pollution globally. Unfortunately, analysis of the data shows that participants have seen brighter skies and fewer stars over time, meaning that light pollution is a growing problem. The free and publicly-accessible data gathered by the project is not only useful for educational purposes but can also help inform planners and policymakers on decisions about increasing public safety, reducing energy consumption and even identifying parks and green spaces that can serve as “sky oases” where city dwellers can appreciate the night sky from a safe, dark place.According to the McDonald Observatory’s Dark Skies Initiative (DSI), the solution to light pollution is 90 percent education and 10 percent technology. “We can reclaim vast amounts of energy currently wasted inadvertently into the night sky…by using light fixtures that are shielded to reflect light down where it is needed, as well as using the smallest number of lights and lowest wattage bulbs necessary to effectively light an area,” says DSI. Leading by example through the installation of downward-pointing outdoor light fixtures is a great place for home and building owners to start: “Once people see it in action, and understand its implications for cost savings and enhanced visibility, they are far more likely to adopt good lighting practices on their own.” Another group committed to reducing light pollution, the International Dark-Sky Association, maintains a list of distributors that sell approved fixtures to prevent light pollution.Some cities have instituted standards to limit outdoor night lighting to protect citizens against unwanted light (or “light trespass”). The International Dark-Sky Association has developed a set of model lighting ordinances that cities and towns can adopt and modify to suit their needs accordingly. Also, the U.S. Green Building Council has incorporated a credit for buildings seeking to reduce the amount of light trespass and sky glow through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.CONTACTS: GLOBE At Night, www.globeatnight.org; Dark Skies Initiative, www.mcdonaldobservatory.org/darkskies; International Dark Sky Association, www.darksky.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

‘It’s the little things that matter’

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » A few years back Patrick Adams, CEO of St. Louis Community Credit Union, suffered a heart attack—and survived. He shared his story Friday at the co-located CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council Conferences in San Francisco.If possible, he suffered his attack under the best of possible conditions:There was a defibrillator onsite at the YMCA where he was working out.A U.S. Secret Service Agent was also working out. He knew how to use a defibrillator.Scheduling snafus resulted in Adams and the agent being at the gym at the same time.A fire station and paramedics were nearby to assist Adams.One of the things that Adams took away from the episode: It’s not necessarily the big things that make the difference in our lives.last_img read more

Windies coach banned from first 2 ODIs for ICC code breach

first_imgDubai: West Indies coach Stuart Law has been suspended for his team’s first two One-day Internationals (ODI) against India – on October 21 and 24 – following a breach of the ICC Code of Conduct during the second Test in Hyderabad.Besides the ban, Law was penalised 100 percent of his match fee and slapped three demerit points. This means his accumulated demerit points reached four within a 24-month period leading to the two-match ban.Law had previously received a 25 percent match fee fine and one demerit point in May 2017 for a similar transgression during the Dominica Test against Pakistan.“Law was found guilty of breaching Level 2 Article 2.7 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to ‘Public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an international match or any Player, Player Support Personnel, Match Official or team participating in any international match, irrespective of when such criticism or inappropriate comment is made,” an ICC statement read.The incident took place on Sunday afternoon when Law, following the dismissal of Kieran Powell, went to the TV umpire’s room and made inappropriate comments.He then walked to the fourth umpire’s area and in the presence of the players, again directed inappropriate comments at the fourth official.“On Monday, Law admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by ICC match referee Chris Broad and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing,” the statement further read.The charges were levelled by on-field umpires Bruce Oxenford and Ian Gould, third umpire Nigel Llong and fourth official Nitin Menon. (IANS)last_img read more

Did a bomb bring down Metrojet A321?

first_imgThe British government has postponed all flights from Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt after it received intelligence that the Metrojet Flight 9268 may have been brought down by a small bomb.As a result about 15,000 mainly British holidaymakers are stuck in the Red Sea resort as security experts from the UK conduct checks of the airport.A spokesman for the British Prime Minister David Cameron said that “while the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed.”“But as more information has come to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.’’It now appears that the Royal Air Force may be called in to airlift passengers out.The Metrojet Airbus A321, was operating Flight 7K-9268 from Sharm el Sheikh to St. Petersburg (Russia) and crashed on Saturday October 31 killing all 224 on board.The black boxes of the A321 have been recovered but the cockpit voice recorder is badly damaged.Other possible causes many be a structural failure associated with tail strike the plane suffered in 2001 or an engine explosion.Investigators have all but ruled out pilot error.last_img read more

London Olympics: Though Paes-Vardhan pair is out, they have won hearts with the spirited challenge put up against the French

first_imgAfter all the rancour surrounding selection, it was well worth the wait as Leander Paes and scratch partner Vishnu Vardhan played their hearts out before losing 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3 to Frenchmen Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the second round on Wednesday night. Up against two strong players, it was all about how the seasoned Leander could guide Vishnu on grass. “Does he have grass court shoes?” Leander had asked after the Hyderabad player had been selected as his partner.On Wednesday, Vishnu showed he had the shoes and the game for grass to compete for a full three sets on a slick surface at the hallowed All England Club at Wimbledon.In fading light, when the dew can be difficult to play on, Leander and Vishnu laboured hard before their exit.”I don’t really feel under pressure when I’m on the court. I really concentrate on trying to get my partner to play his best.Being the first time we have played together as a team, we’ve played a hell of a match. Our first-round match was against some really tough opponents with one player No. 33 (Robin Haase) in the world in singles and the other No. 21 in doubles (Jean-Julier Rojer),” Leander said.”Today, we came up one or two games short against a formidable French team. But I was just talking to Vish during the match and saying ‘can you imagine a third or fourth match playing together?’We have a lot of firepower, but there are still a few things that we have to improve on. We have a big game and I’m very happy about that.”advertisementTalking about the demise of serve-and-volley tennis on grass, Leander said, “The surface has changed a lot over the last decade and the grass has become a lot harder, a lot firmer with the ball bouncing a lot higher.When you hit an approach shot it has to be very good so that you can follow up. The balls are a lot heavier too, hence you find a lot more players playing from the back.”For his part, Vishnu was excited. “Lee and his team have been working on me for the last month-and-a-half. It’s not just an overnight thing.We’ve spoken about strategies and tactics and then the gameplan last night and I cannot thank him enough. He is an amazing leader and this is how a champion is,” Vishnu said.Looking at the future of Indian tennis, Vishnu is one who will be watched with interest. He did well in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and he has now learnt valuable lessons from his maiden Olympics.last_img read more

Trudeau calls election neglects to mention Indigenous peoples in campaign speech

first_imgPrime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the 2019 federal election campaign on Sept. 11 with a speech that did not mention Indigenous peoples.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsJustin Trudeau called the fall election Wednesday and set out a host of priorities in a speech that did not specifically include Indigenous relations.In his speech the prime minister appealed to middle class Canadians, single parents and families, workers, recent graduates, seniors and pensioners and new Canadians, but did not mention Indigenous peoples before concluding with the statement, “I’m for moving forward for everyone.”The Oct. 21 election is poised to be among the most important in the country’s 152-year history.Despite Trudeau’s omission of Indigenous peoples from his speech Wednesday, the writ drops following a political mandate that many consider brought unprecedented progress on Indigenous rights and issues.The election also comes amid a growing SNC-Laval scandal, and perhaps most crucially with only a decade remaining to achieve strict carbon emission reductions to avert the worst of the climate crisis.Since 2015 the Liberals have attempted to rebuild relations with Inuit, Métis and First Nations via ambitious policy and legislative reform — some of it successful, some not.Earlier this summer the government passed legislation intended to protect Indigenous languages and transfer jurisdiction over child welfare to Indigenous communities.The legislative wins came after the Liberals failed to develop an Indigenous rights and recognition framework that would have represented the most sweeping overhaul of policy and legislation guiding the Crown’s relations with Indigenous peoples.The framework promised a pathway for First Nations out from underneath the Indian Act, and for Métis, First Nations and Inuit toward self-determination.But First Nations largely rejected the framework, saying the principles guiding the government’s engagement were not co-developed and that the government’s actions during bilateral discussions didn’t match its public statements.Some also argued the framework had an end goal of making Indigenous nations and communities fourth-level governments with Indigenous laws superseded by municipal, provincial and federal laws.The Trudeau government also failed on a key 2015 election promise to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).After, Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash introduced a private members’ bill in April 2016 that would have compelled Canada to align its laws with UNDRIP, former Justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould called the declaration “unworkable”.The Liberals later did an about-face on UNDRIP and supported Bill C-262 in the House of Commons, but ultimately didn’t see the legislation through to royal assent.Conservative Senators killed the bill before Parliament adjourned in June.Now Trudeau is promising to legislate the declaration if re-elected.The NDP and Green Party are also promising action on UNDRIP.Wilson-Raybould is at the centre of Trudeau and the Liberals’ biggest impediment to re-election.On Wednesday the Globe and Mail broke news that Ottawa is blocking the RCMP on an investigation into potential obstruction of justice in the SNC-Lavalin scandal.According to the Globe, the Liberals say the Clerk of the Privy Council did not offer the federal police—or Parliament’s ethics commissioner—a broad waiver of cabinet confidentiality.Last month Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found Trudeau breached the Conflict of Interest Act after the prime minister and senior officials pressured Wilson-Raybould to instruct the director of public prosecutions to help SNC avoid a trial over its fraud and bribery charges.Wilson-Raybould laid out in a lengthy testimony before the house of commons justice committee last February allegations of how she was inappropriately pressured by senior officials.She was later removed by Trudeau as justice minister and attorney general, from the highest office ever held by an Indigenous person in federal politics.Trudeau then removed Wilson-Raybould and former Indigenous Services minister Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.Both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott—who stood by Wilson-Raybould’s side through the scandal—are seeking re-election as independents.Former ministers Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould were kicked out of the Liberal caucus last spring. APTN file photo.Recent polls show the Liberals and Conservatives neck and neck just five weeks out from the election.During her final days as minister of justice and attorney general, Wilson-Raybould issued a directive on how Canada will handle civil litigation involving Indigenous peoples, such as class action lawsuits.The Liberals have already made changes to civlil litigation involving Indigenous peoples.Trudeau’s government settled with Sixties Scoop survivors, Indian Day School survivors and residential school survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador.It is now expected by Indigenous leaders to accept the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s recent ruling ordering billions in compensation to tens of thousands of Indigenous children taken from their families and made wards of the state in what is widely regarded as the Millennium Scoop.At a press conference Monday, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said it would be “crazy” for government to appeal the tribunal’s ruling.Bellegarde laid out his organization’s election priorities, citing the protection of Mother Earth and the fight to limit climate change as the most pressing issue.While the parties have yet to release their full platforms, some have indicated where they’re heading on Indigenous peoples and reconciliation.The NDP are promising to co-develop with Indigenous peoples a National Action Plan for Reconciliation, and to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, Jordan’s Principle, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ calls for justice.They say the party will also end the mould and housing crisis in Indigenous communities.The Greens have vowed to “support Indigenous peoples and follow their lead as they implement their own strategies for rebuilding Indigenous nations and measures to reclaim Indigenous nationhood.”That includes “ending the provisions of the Indian Act” in “full partnership with First Nations,” according to the Green Party website.Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was booed at an AFN meeting in Ottawa last December because he didn’t have any concrete ideas or proposals to offer First Nations leaders.To date Scheer hasn’t offered an Indigenous policy and legislative platform. The former Harper Conservative government was accused of ignoring and disrespecting Indigenous rights and eventually triggered the grassroots Idle No More movement, which saw sustained protests across the country.The Trudeau government has committed to lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on public on-reserve systems by 2021.The Liberals say they have lifted 87 since November 2015, while 56 remain.In April 2017 federal and Métis leaders signed the Canada-Métis Nation Accord.This past June Métis leaders presented Trudeau with the Order of the Métis Nation, the highest honour for those who’ve made significant contributions to the Métis.National Indigenous leaders have said they’ve made unprecedented progress on key issues working with the Trudeau government. They’ve also said there’s a lot yet to accomplish. APTN file photo.When news of the SNC scandal broke in February, Métis Nation President Clement Chartier came to the Liberals’ rescue, saying “more than any other government in Canada’s history, the Trudeau government has striven to bring the Métis people into the federation and as full participants into the social life and economy of our great country. We stand with the Prime Minister and his government in maintaining and building on this relationship and expanding opportunities for our people to have a better life in Canada.”Earlier this week Canada unveiled its long-awaited Arctic Policy Framework, the first policy framework of its size to be co-developed with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners.The plan sets out a long-term vision to guide Canada’s activities and investments in the Arctic through to 2030—the year scientists have set for significant carbon emission reductions—and beyond.The feds purport the framework “will better align Canada’s national and international policy objectives with the priorities of Indigenous peoples and Arctic and Northern residents,” according to a news release on Tuesday.Responding to the announcement, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Natan Obed said the framework “must be leveraged to bring Inuit Nunangat into Canada as a nation building exercise, helping to create prosperity for Inuit that in turn benefits all Canadians.”The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion remains at the fore among Indigenous peoples watching the 2019 election.Last week the Federal Court of Appeal agreed to hear six applications from First Nations appealing the government’s decision to proceed with the controversial pipeline despite claims from First Nations with unceded territories who say they have not consented to the project and its environmental and health risks.At the government’s Trans Mountain announcement in June, Trudeau defined free, prior and informed consent—an UNDRIP principle—as “engaging, looking with [Indigenous communities], listening to the issues they have, and responding meaningfully to the concerns they have wherever possible.”In a 2015 interview days before he was elected prime minister, APTN News asked Trudeau on the issue of consent, “Would no mean no under your government?” — to which he replied, “Absolutely.”“Ultimately,” he said, “even though governments grant permits, only communities grant permission.”[email protected]@justinbrakenewslast_img read more