Light pollution is all a matter of how you see the light; leave if it’s too bright |

Light pollution is all a matter of how you see the light; leave if it’s too bright

There has been a great to-do of late about light pollution in Summit County. I thought I would shed some light to the subject.

First, when I was growing up some decades ago in McCoy, Colo., the greatest event of that era was the arrival of electricity via the Rural Electric Association power lines. Before that time, we had coal oil lamps, and on a dark night it was hard to find your way to the outhouse.

I want you to know that light pollution was the last thing in our minds when that glorious electric light bulb could be hung outside the back door. Maybe we should reflect on the benefits of the life we enjoy instead of complaining about the nuisances of that life.

In any case, I thought I would inventory the greatest sources of this new form of pollution in our county.

Our bedroom window faces east toward Keystone, and no, the lights on the ski area are not the greatest source of light. Surprisingly the greatest polluter is the full moon. You know it often is so bright in our clear night skies you can barely see the stars. And next, on a cloudy night, the lights of Denver can be seen some 70 miles away.

My son lives in the Seattle area and I asked him if he was troubled by light pollution. His answer was he could barely see across the street most nights because of clouds and rain, so he had never thought about light being a pollutant. I guess we are just cursed with clear skies most of the time.

I have a suggestion about dealing with this problem: Those people who came to Summit County because they thought it was a remote getaway need to think again. For better or worse, we have become an urban mountain community, very quickly accessible to Denver.

We rely on the ski industry and tourism for our economic well-being, and that is not going to change – I hope. So, if light pollution is your biggest issue in this county, I suggest you move to Alaska or a developing country with no electricity.

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