Since being in Tucson, I have often said how dark it gets here at night. It's astonishingly dark. I assumed it was because we are really living in the boonies right now, but even when we were up in corporate housing it was insanely dark at night too. Well, now I know....

Light Pollution - Outdoor Lighting Control Ordinance - Tucson/Pima County, Arizona

In the heart of downtown Tucson, Arizona, a city of nearly 500,000, one can view the Milky Way with the naked eye. Tucson and Pima County first adopted outdoor lighting ordinances in 1972 in an effort to provide standards so that night lighting did not interfere with nearby astronomical observatories. The lighting control ordinance of Tucson/Pima County has been revised many times over the years. The 2006 Code is still quite strong and it is copied below.

The code's purpose is outlined in the ordinance:

The purpose of this code is to preserve the relationship of the residents of City of Tucson/Pima County to their unique desert environment through protection of access to the dark night sky. Intended outcomes include continuing support of astronomical activity and minimizing wasted energy, while not compromising the safety, security, and well being of persons engaged in outdoor night time activities. It is the intent of this code to control the obtrusive aspects of excessive and careless outdoor lighting usage while preserving, protecting, and enhancing the lawful nighttime use and enjoyment of any and all property. It is recognized that portions of properties may be required to be unlit, covered, or have reduced lighting levels in order to allow enough lumens in the lighted areas to achieve light levels in accordance with nationally recognized recommended practices.

It blows my mind how eco aware this city is. Between the reclaimed water, the ENORMOUS recycle bins, (3 or 4 times the size of the one we had in MI), and now light pollution. Makes me giddy in a small way, to be somewhere that takes such good care of the environment.


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