Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lights Off Utah

If you've been thinking about doing some stargazing, tonight might be your night: between 9 pm and 10 pm, if all goes as planned, Utah will be dark.

The Lights Off Utah campaign is encouraging people, businesses and governments all over the state to go dark for one hour. The idea is to remind people of the importance of energy conservation, and to show that our behavior can have a big impact.

Why bother? Well, there are a lot of reasons to think about saving energy, but one you may not have thought of is to experience night the way Utah's early inhabitants might have. For much of Utah's history, there was little or no artificial light once the sun went down. Native inhabitants and early pioneers saw a very different sky than our cities allow us to witness. Even Utahn's in rural areas aren't immune to the effects of electric lights; in fact, most parts of the globe are in some way affected by lights at night.

It won't exactly be a time machine, but take a moment to turn off some lights and look around tonight. You might be glad you did.

How else might nights have been different before electricity? How might your life change if it were dark at night?