Artificial light at night is an essential component of modern civilization, allowing nighttime activities in residential and industrial areas and insuring safety and security to citizens. At the same time, lighting deployed in excess with respects to actual needs determines negative impacts in various areas, such as astronomical observation, ecology, safety, and human health.
For decades artificial light at night has been spread without considering such impacts, but over the last twenty years or so, with a general increase of environmental awareness and the gradual creation of laws concerning this issue, remarkable improvements have been observed on the design and installation of lighting sources.
In parallel, studies are being conducted, helping to quantify the effects of artificial light in various impact categories. In such a context, a thread of activities concerning the promotion of night skies has been developing, with “dark sky” areas, typically characterized by low population density and infrastructure levels, can attract tourists, educational activities and studies, leading to business which can be summed to other lines of promotion. These “dark sky” activities see protected areas and natural reserves as key sites of interest, where daytime assets and attractions are complemented by night-time elements.
On Thursday, Sep. 21, 2017, at the Belagaio Nature State Reserve, in the Farma Valley, Southern Tuscany, the Follonica Carabinieri Biodiversity Unit will hold an event in collaboration with the Attivarti.org association, focused on the topic of promotion and protection of night skies, showcasing experiences in science, education, and territorial marketing, deriving from the combined efforts of local, national, and international subjects.
The site for the event has not been chosen by accident: Italy is renown globally as one of the countries with the strongest light pollution issues, but somehow maintains three regions with an excellent night sky quality, and the Belagaio reserve is at the centre of one of these regions, encompassing Southern Tuscany and Northern Latium.
Last, but not least, the Farma Valley has given birth since 2008 to creative projects concerning the promotion and protection of night skies, determining significant synergies in the area, combining cultural, environmental, and landscape issues and triggering relevant collaborations of local, national, and international stakeholders.
The Sep. 21 event wil have an afternoon session and a night session.
From 2.30PM to 5.30PM there will be a workshop where the status of various initiatives will be presented, with talks by:
Giovanni Quilghini – Lieutenant Colonel, Commander of the Follonica Carabinieri Biodiversity Unit, manager of the Belagaio State Reserve
Luciano Massetti – Senior Technologist, National Research Council Institute of Biometeorology, Florence
Andrea Giacomelli – Environmental engineering MS ad PhD, coordinator of the BuioMetria Partecipativa project
Federico Giussani – Nightscape photographer
Nazario Montuori – Amateur astronomer, Associazione Maremmana Studi Astronomici
At the end of the workshop, a guided visit to the Belagaio Castle will be possible. Then, from 9 to 11PM there will be outdoor activities, including astronomical observation, night-time photography and night sky brightness measurements. Should weather conditions not be adequate, the evening outdoor activities will be replaced by a showcase of photos, videos, and indoor demonstrations.