A Conversation with Executive Director Ruskin Hartley
About the Association
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) was founded 32 years ago in Tucson, AZ where they currently have a small professional staff. The international organization relies on their supporters and network of advocates around the world, having people active in 50 countries around the world in every inhabited continent, to help raise awareness about light pollution. The association has found success through providing tools and resources to help combat the issue of light pollution, and by sharing success stories about where people have incorporated effective lighting to make connections so that people don't feel so alone in their efforts.
IDA believes in recognizing best practices with one of their signature programs being International Dark-Sky Places Program. It's been around for 20 years now taking place in 174 locations around the world protecting more than 110,000 square kilometers of land. Each of these areas have common characteristics; They are places where, being community parks or large landscapes that value dark skies. Through this program the association is going to take all the steps they can to use light responsibly while also educating people and inform people about the value of natural darkness and what responsible lighting can do.
The Light Pollution Problem
One of the most common issues is the lack of awareness about light pollution. Despite that, 83% around the world and 90% of the US and Europe live under light polluted skies and over the last decade or so light pollution has been growing about twice the rate of the population growth, and its impacting almost everything, millions of migrating birds are dying. It is one of the leading causes of the decline of insects around the world, and the wasted light is contributing to climate change. Additionally, results in billions of dollars wasted in energy bills every year and has a long negative impact on human health.