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Silhouette of a man and tree against a brilliant, colorful Milky Way night sky.

Artificial light has revolutionized the way we live and work outdoors at night, but it has come at a price. When used indiscriminately, outdoor lighting can disrupt wildlife, impact human health, waste money and energy, contribute to climate change, and block our view of the universe.

  • Eight out of 10 people worldwide live under a light-polluted sky.
  • Light pollution is doubling every eight years, wreaking even more havoc on all life forms.


Virtually every species studied has been harmed by light pollution.

  • Globally, 27% of the land surface is affected by light at night.
  • Almost 50% of terrestrial protected areas are impacted by light at night.
  • Research has found species like grunion and plover are affected by light at very dim levels — as low as that provided by a half moon.

Energy and climate change

Wasted light is wasted energy.

  • Light emissions from the continents represent 246,238 gigawatt-hours of energy, costing at least $50 billion (U.S.) annually.
  • Street lights consume approximately 2.3% of global electricity.

Public health and equity

Light pollution impacts quality of life.

  • In one study, women exposed to high levels of light pollution had a 14% increased risk of breast cancer compared to exposure to low levels. As levels of outdoor light at night increased, so did breast cancer rates.
  • Light pollution is 2.46-fold higher in areas with the most socially disadvantaged groups, compared to the least vulnerable communities.

Light pollution is simply an unintended consequence of using light at night.

We’re not against lighting; we are for responsible outdoor lighting at night.

Developed in 2022 in collaboration with Advocates and members, the DarkSky International Board of Directors approved a bold new strategic plan to slow the growth of light pollution and begin to reverse it.

To rapidly reduce light pollution, DarkSky Advocates need to be more effective, powerful, and aligned around an overarching strategy.

Our mission

Natural darkness at night is protected worldwide as essential for people and nature.

Our vision

To restore the nighttime environment and protect communities and wildlife from light pollution. 

Our approach

We empower the dark sky movement and provide leadership, tools, and resources for individuals, policymakers, and industry, to reduce light pollution and promote responsible outdoor lighting that is beautiful, healthy, and functional.

We bring the issue of light pollution to diverse communities worldwide, with the goal of creating access to information about the destructive impact of over-lighting and the benefits of responsible lighting.

Our values

In all our words and deeds we are guided by our core values.

  • Passionate We are enthusiastic advocates for restoring and protecting the natural nighttime environment essential to all living things.
  • Inclusive We believe the natural nighttime environment is a basic human right — for every person for all time — celebrated in diverse communities’ cultures and heritage. Light justice requires responsible lighting and access to a night free of light pollution, for everyone.
  • Collaborative We build enduring relationships with those committed to reducing light pollution and restoring and protecting the natural nighttime environment. We seek common ground toward that goal with all stakeholders, including government and industry.
  • Informed We base our actions on the best available scientific evidence and support further research on the causes, measurements, and solutions for light pollution.
  • Inspired Our spirit is enriched by the wonders of the natural night— from the star-studded sky to the flash of a firefly.
  • Global Our strength lies in being a global movement working locally to achieve our worldwide mission under One Dark Sky.

Key terms

  • Light pollution: The alteration of light levels in the outdoor environment from those occurring naturally due to human-made sources of light.

The plan focuses on three strategic priorities

  1. DarkSky Policy Activate advocates to lead movement-building DarkSky policies.
  2. DarkSky Approved — Promote DarkSky best practices through expansion of certification programs.
  3. DarkSky Collaboration Integrate DarkSky principles and approaches into global conservation themes.

Join us, and together we can reclaim the dark night sky

“Tonight, wherever you are, go outside and look at the sky. Can you see the wonders? Overhead are countless distant fires, stars upon stars in clusters and constellations, a natural darkness where the faintest colors and lights shine. For most of human history, wherever on the globe, this was the night we knew. This was the darkness in which all life evolved and which our body and spirit still crave. Art and science and religion all flowed from our experience of natural darkness and a starry night sky. This is where we came from, this is who we are.”

– Paul Bogard, author of End of Night