John C. Barentine


Efforts to control artificial light at night (ALAN) through public policies began in the late 1950s, yet light pollution continues to grow at a global average rate roughly twice that of population growth. The current global ALAN regulatory regime is clearly inadequate to solve the problem, and achieving meaningful light pollution reductions requires a new approach. This paper reviews the legal status quo, introduces the “Rights of Nature” doctrine, and advances the idea of nighttime darkness as a natural characteristic of sufficient inherent value to merit legal consideration in the Rights of Nature context. It concludes with a series of recommendations for ways forward, including the recognition of the intrinsic value of dark skies in the preambulatory language of legislation, formulating new policies in anticipation of broad adoption of Rights of Nature statutes, and advancing the significance of natural nighttime darkness in case law arguments.




light pollution, lighting policy, rights of nature

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