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NEON SIGNS AND DARK SKIES INITIATIVE

In attending the standing- room-only Bandera City Council ‘workshop’ on Wed, amidst repeated talk about money/ growth, disappointment/ expectations/ speculation about how neon signs on Main St work/ fail/ inevitably force us to read advertisements as we pass through our streets, I was amazed that no one even mentioned why there’s a ‘Dark Sky’ initiative in the first place.

Our apparent craving for daylight has caused us to ignore the obvious, that natural patterns of darkness are as important as is daylight to the functioning of ecosystems. Scientists and concerned ‘Night Skies’ citizens point to devastating statistics of artificial light disruption to migrating birds, plants, insects, fish, our own Circadian rhythm, etc. – on all interaction between ecosystems. Sixty two percent of the US is subject to artificial night sky brightness with consequent lethal effects on species in many habitats.

Bandera had previously started the initiative to maintain what we have left to work with and the possibility of taking remedial action against naysayers, even if just a scolding to those who don’t cooperate. Honestly, is it such a stretch to pursue those goals? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to ask new business owners to respect our goals instead of vice versa? Insofar as the need to advertise in our face on Main Street, even illegals come across the border with cell phones - and everyone under the age of 80 knows how to access information on search engines. Maybe this is just a contest of whose sign is bigger and better - but whatever it is means additional destructive night light pollution for every species, both in our Hill Country and elsewhere.

Janis Jay Arterbury Bandera