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Carefully crafted and robust public policy is crucial to fulfilling DarkSky’s mission to restore the nightime environment and protect communities from the harmful effects of light pollution. We are involved in various efforts to influence the decisions of various lawmaking and oversight bodies worldwide to  formulate, adopt, implement, evaluate, or change public policies on outdoor lighting. We partner with various government entities to support policy priorities that reduce light pollution and promote quality outdoor lighting.

Night skies and public policy implications

Energy and climate change

Policies that minimize light pollution are tied directly to reducing energy consumption by promoting efficient outdoor lighting technologies. These policies control the types of outdoor lighting that various public and private entities may install and determine appropriate lighting levels and warranting conditions (whether lights may be installed in certain areas and/or operated during particular hours of the day).

Wildlife and ecosystems

Wildlife is all around us, whether we live in urban or rural settings. Choices made by various jurisdictions about outdoor lighting impact all species and are especially important for locations in or near sensitive habitats. Bad lighting policies can have lethal consequences for wildlife, but good policies can actually help restore healthy urban ecosystems.

Human health

The preponderance of available scientific data suggests that exposure to artificial light at night presents significant risks to human health. While greater exposure to light at night comes from indoor lighting and viewing electronic devices, jurisdictions can limit residents’ exposure to artificial light during outdoor nighttime activities while providing adequate light levels to ensure safety and security.

Public safety

Poorly designed and installed outdoor lighting is a known hazard to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in transit at night. The same policies that reduce light pollution will reduce glare and put the right amount of light in the right place and at the right time to ensure the safety of all.


The notion that preserving dark skies requires turning lights off and compromising security is not supported by scientific evidence. Over-lighting outdoor spaces at night in the belief that lighting deters crime can actually create favorable conditions for crimes of opportunity. Good policies that reduce light pollution enhance security by reducing glare, attenuating harsh lighting that creates shadows, and retaining the element of surprise through adaptive lighting controls.

What we’re doing

  • Leading efforts to set the policy agenda for reducing light pollution around the world.
  • Informing policymakers about the most effective, efficient, and legally robust ways to regulate outdoor lighting.
  • Promoting policies based on sound scientific research.
  • Offering outdoor lighting policies appropriate for both local and regional levels
  • Tracking policy developments to identify opportunities for DarkSky to become involved at the earliest stages of policy formulation.
  • Coordinating DarkSky member calls to action to support or oppose specific policies under consideration in their jurisdictions.

Recent actions


  • December 2022: Appealing the FCC approval of SpaceX satellite constellations to protect dark and quiet skies
  • October 2022: Pursuing Europe-wide action on light pollution through the Brno appeal.


  • December 2021: New York City adopts controls on nighttime illumination
  • August 2021: City of Pittsburgh adopts a dark sky lighting ordinance.




What you can do

Become a DarkSky Advocate

Join us and become a part of the global dark sky movement! The DarkSky Advocates Network is a global community focused on reducing light pollution and protecting dark skies.