S3E19: Oh, those dark desert skies

S3E19: Oh, those dark desert skies

Mitch Miller and Steve Bardwell join us to discuss the significance of dark skies. "Light pollution is like bringing up the house lights during the best song," says Mitch. Learn more about protecting our dark skies with 90 Miles from Needles.

About the Guest(s):

Mitch Miller: Mitch Miller is a seasoned landscape photographer based in Joshua Tree, California. With a career that started in 1981, Mitch has a unique affection for capturing night sky images. His extensive knowledge of Joshua Tree National Park and a deep connection to the desert landscape informs his artistic pursuits. Mitch's work reflects a profound appreciation for the interrelationship between natural beauty and celestial phenomena.

Steve Bardwell: Steve Bardwell is the President of the Morongo Basin Conservation Association. Steve has been an advocate for desert preservation since 1990, contributing significantly to the community’s efforts to protect natural resources, including the enactment of the San Bernardino County Light Trespass Ordinance. His dedication to environmental conservation is backed by a deep appreciation for the desert environment and its intrinsic value.

Episode Summary:

In this enlightening episode of 90 Miles from Needles: The Desert Protection Podcast, host Chris Clarke delves into the importance of dark skies over the Southern California desert. With guests Mitch Miller and Steve Bardwell, the conversation navigates the significance of reducing light pollution for the benefit of human health, wildlife, and astrophotography. This episode also updates listeners on the latest progress of the light trespass ordinance in San Bernardino County.

Beginning with an update on Chris's dog, Heart, and a shout-out to followers and contributors, the conversation soon shifts to the importance of dark skies. Mitch Miller shares his journey with night sky photography, describing its artistic and sensory aspects. Steve Bardwell discusses the scientific reasons behind the need for dark skies including the detrimental effects of artificial lighting on human and wildlife health. This episode is filled with practical insights into the ongoing struggle to preserve dark skies and the pivotal roles played by various organizations in enforcing regulations.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Importance of Dark Skies: Dark skies are crucial for human health, wildlife, and preserving natural night views.
  • The Light Trespass Ordinance: Enacted to reduce light pollution, this ordinance impacts exterior lighting regulations in San Bernardino County.
  • Community Involvement: The successful passage of the light trespass ordinance involved concerted efforts from local and national organizations.
  • Astrophotography Appeal: Mitch Miller’s night sky photography work underscores the beauty of naturally dark environments and their importance.
  • Practical Lighting Solutions: Tips on how to implement dark sky-compliant lighting using simple, cost-effective methods are shared.

Dark Side of the Bloom by Mitch Miller

above: Dark Side of the Bloom by Mitch Miller

Notable Quotes:

  1. "Landscape photography is about knowing where to stand and when to stand there." – Mitch Miller
  2. "Nature evolved with dark skies, and artificial light is throwing a wrench in the whole work." – Steve Bardwell
  3. "Light pollution is like bringing up the house lights during the best song." – Mitch Miller
  4. "It's glare that creates unsafe conditions because you can't see when you have a lot of glare." – Steve Bardwell
  5. "You can take simple steps like painting the inside of a fixture or using a rusted can to shield light efficiently." – Steve Bardwell


For more on preserving our desert environment and to stay updated on the fight against light pollution, be sure to listen to the full episode and stay tuned for upcoming content from 90 Miles from Needles: The Desert Protection Podcast.

Become a desert defender!: https://90milesfromneedles.com/donate

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