NOAO < EDUCATION < FM21.8.04

Re-interpreting R, R and R

Why are we so much more aware of environmental issues today than was the case 100-150 years ago, when particle-laden smoke belched out of chimneys, modes of travel (both near and distant) were best sellers, and fluorescent lighting made it possible to work all night as well as all day? Are we now paying the price of the Industrial Revolution? Not altogether. Along with the side-effects of all such “improvements” have come two other parallel but crucial developments: (1) technology to control harmful emissions, and (2) increased populations, each demanding - and getting - freedom of choice, as did their recent ancestors.

The Environmentalist’s Motto, the Three Rs (Re-duce, Re-use, Re-cycle) is perfectly clear: the prime action in all cases is REDUCE. The individual, however, looks to “Them” to make by-laws, or install efficient road lighting and controls just in the the public domain. The individual rarely accepts that the R, R, R message applies also to him or her, and to his or her family. Where then is freedom of choice? We discuss the alternative Three Rs (Rights, Recreations, Responsibilities) of the Individual’s Motto, and try to put them in working order. To do that, we discuss the impacts of night-time lighting on parties other than astronomers.

Elizabeth Griffin

AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: E.M. Griffin, NRC, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA

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