Los Caminitos is an active member
of the International Dark-Sky Assn.
One of the great advantages of living in a place like Los Caminitos is a spectacular view of the night sky - but only if we are careful enough to preserve it. We all need artificial light to live comfortably and safely at night. The trick is, how much light is enough to meet our needs and what are the best ways to manage it? Whenever we use too much light or don't direct or shield it properly, we create light pollution and contribute to its negative effects: sky-glow, glare, light trespass, disrupted ecosystems and energy waste.
Sky-glow is the brightened sky that results from too much artificial light at night. It obscures the night sky, making it harder to see the stars and planets. If you look south from Los Caminitos toward the city lights of Santa Fe, you can easily see the affect of sky-glow. In that direction we see fewer and fewer stars as our line of sight moves closer to the horizon.
Because sky-glow is now so prevalent, two out of three Americans can no longer see the Milky Way. Another concern in our neighborhood is glare, which is caused by misdirected, unshielded or excessive light. Even when stars are visible, glare can be distracting and spoil the aesthetic experience of seeing the same night sky that has enthralled human beings all over the world across time and cultures.
Disrupted eco-systems can occur when significant excesses of light effect plant and animal life. Energy waste from light pollution also carries a staggering economic cost: unneeded or excessive light is estimated to cost Americans more than $2 billion annually. And producing all that unneeded electricity contributes to air pollution and acid rain.