Friends of the Irish Environment

14 years 7 months ago #20869 by albertw
Friends of the Irish Environment was created by albertw
Hi,

Just off the phone with the Sunday Times (Michael, John, thanks for putting tme in touch with me!).

It seems that Friends of the Irish Environment are working on a light pollution campaign also. More, presumably, will be in the sunday times.

Cheers,
~Al

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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14 years 7 months ago #20874 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
Nice to hear that. If it gets printed, put it up here for all to see.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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14 years 7 months ago #20898 by Tony Lowes
Replied by Tony Lowes on topic Friends of the Irish Environment
Hi All -

We sent out a Press Release on Dark Skies this week in the hope that we might attract a little media when the competition is poor, although we prepared the Press Release a few months ago with this in mind!

I actually wrote a policy document for An Taisce about 5 years ago but there was very little interest. It's a subject that I care about myself - as I do about the natural environment in general.

Anyway the Sunday Times picked up on the story, and this morning I did a piece on Morning Ireland.

I hope the material we are putting out is OK - I would appreciate any feedback! My feeling is that the campaign may get a boost from the global warming issue, but that there is still a perception that this a bit of a crank subject.

There was an interesting article in the Telegraph this week as well about the dissatisfaction with the progress in the UK. I'll try and get that on our site later today.

I have put the rest of the information up on our site, including a transcript of the radio interview this morning, with a link to your site to get involved.

Congratulations on this excellent site, and on getting the campaign up and running here in Ireland. Hope we can help.

Best wishes,

Tony

www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/main/index.php

Tony Lowes
Allihies,
Co. Cork
087 2176316
"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones".
(John Cage)

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14 years 7 months ago #20899 by johnflannery
Replied by johnflannery on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
hi Tony/Al,

congratulations on getting the light pollution issue highlighted in the last couple of days.

although I live in Terenure, where it's never going to be pitch dark, I recently had occasion to talk to a neighbour across the way who had a bright outside light angled in such a way that, besides illuminating their backyard, also lit the upstairs fascade of our house and next door's. It meant that at night, you could read in bed with the curtains closed, using just the neighbours light! Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration but it was becoming a nuisance trying to sleep as sometimes they had the light on 'til two or three in the morning.

I approached them on the subject before Christmas and they were very accommodating and all apologies about the problem. I had also pointed out to them that driving out of our estate at night when their yard light was on could be considered a hazard too because it did shine into the eyes of anyone in a car.

so, I think even a small issue like this can be resolved in an amicable way.

atb,

John

John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world

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14 years 7 months ago #20926 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
John - I had exactly the same problem here in Celbridge - a neigbour at the rear of my house was presumably tendering for the new runway at Dublin Airport... When the security lights were on, they lit up at least 6 or 7 of the row of houses I live in. Read? Naah, you could perform open heart surgery by *that* light.

I approached the house and whilst the (henpecked) man of the house was very accomodating, when the woman of the house came to see what was going on, she threw a wobbler. 'None of your business, meddling good-for-nothing' etc. The bloke quietly said he'd move it and sure enough, he did. But clearly, she had other ideas and it was shortly re-instated.

Are there any legal options? A la noise pollution?

Cheers

Dave

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14 years 7 months ago #20927 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
If this thing has a light sensor on it, you could always get a cheap laser and point it at the sensor when your out observing, this will trick the light into thinking its daytime and it'll turn off. :lol:

If they can spill light into your garden, then you can do the same, be it very directional. 8)

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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14 years 7 months ago #20928 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
:lol:

I thought of a laser but couldn't figure out where the sensor was... Then I thought about a 100 megawatt directional search light... Finally, I was going to dig out the old air rifle...

But I was the bigger man and walked away...

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14 years 7 months ago #20930 by eansbro
Replied by eansbro on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
When I was living in Dublin I also had problems with one specific public light.

This light was strong enough to reduce important work that I was carrying out on measuring specific faint variable stars in collaboration with other observers.

After some frustration, I decided to use a pellet gun, which solved the problem. I was very happy with the results I obtained which were eventually published in a astronomy journal. If the light was still there I would have had no data and be a very disappointed astronomer.

A friend of mine at the time namely Eddie Cassidy whom had an observatory in Ballyedmunduff, Co. Dublin, also had similar problem, even though his observatory was high up in the Dublin mountains. The Co. Council had one light that flooded his observatory. He got permission by the Co. Council to use a hood that could be winched up the pole, rather like hoisting up a flag. This worked for him and he was able to perforn good astrophotography with his Celestron 10 telescope thereafter. Of course in those days things may have been more flexible with the Co. Councils.

I am sure there may be a list of imaginative ways of reducing light pollution from specific lights that hinder ones valuable observing work.

It would be good to hear from others on this matter

Eamonn A

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14 years 7 months ago #20931 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment

:lol:

I thought of a laser but couldn't figure out where the sensor was... Then I thought about a 100 megawatt directional search light... Finally, I was going to dig out the old air rifle...

But I was the bigger man and walked away...


You could walk away as you could see where you were going thanks to their lamp. :lol:
I have to say, the laser is the way to go, they'd be baffled as to how its not working, a pellet riffle will be too obvious and will probabily have them knocking on you door (presuming you can find the sensor, presuming it even has one :shock: ).

Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

Carrying around my 20" obsession is going to kill me,
but what a way to go. :)
+ 12"LX200, MK67, Meade2045, 4"refractor

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14 years 7 months ago #20939 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
Wasn't there a mention of a nuisance lighting policy you could take against your neighbours through the county or town council? I know in England last year, there was a nuisance light pollution clause passed in parliament, making it mandatory to change the direction of your outside lights if asked by a neighbour that was adequately bothered by them. Would love to see that come into effect here.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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14 years 7 months ago #20946 by johnflannery
Replied by johnflannery on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
hi Dave,

yes, Seanie is right; the light would be considered a nuisance, the same as if they were blaring loud music continuously. Obviously, a "stepped" approach should be taken rather than falling out with the neighbours.

maybe invite them over to look at the set up or observe Saturn some clear evening. Then explain how their light interferes with your hobby (i.e., ask them go back, switch on the light, and come over again to see the difference).

if that fails, then contact the Council (I think). They probably have a section to arbirate in the "dispute". If you are still having problems, then a solicitors letter and legal action is the next step.

I'm afraid that woman is in for a shock at that stage because the ruling will almost certainly be in your favour . . . the nuisance law is quite a serious business if it comes to enforcing it and I think prior to legal action this should be outlined to the neighbours because most people are dismissive of these things, without realising the consequences.

John

John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world

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14 years 7 months ago #20957 by Tony Lowes
Replied by Tony Lowes on topic Friends of the Irish Environment
Hi All -

The Sunday Times was a very good article by our standards!

I have posted it to our site at

www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/pap...e=thread&order=0

but I don't want to mess up this beautifully organised site by posting it to a less than useful part of the site as it might be good for you to blazen on your home page.

I have also set up a Dark Skies catagory within the Papers Today on our site. If anyone spots a good article anywhere on this subject, please send it or its url to me and I will post it. We do a daily free environmental news service with over 500 subscribers around the world and the Papers Tody website gets over 80,000 hits a day. (We're actually on 'holiday' now.)

I'll try and get our legal people to check out what rights we have - I assume that because England introduced the legal concept of light as a 'statuatory nuisance' it will be necessary to do so here but maybe not.

I had a thought.

DARK SKIES DAY
I was wondering if you all would be interested in raising the campaign profile this year by linking into a 'Dark Skies' day or week internationally?

I think there may be a date set - if your various 'affiliates' would be willing, the idea would be that they would each independently contact their own local radio and local papers and give them a generic press release modified for their area and made locally relevant.

We'd be glad to help where we could - perhaps especially preparing a generic press release the different groups could modify and identifying the better local radio stations, of which there are many with more than 50% local coverage - but it would be best if it came locally. Maybe this idea should be posted as a new thread???


THE NEIGHBOUR
And the neighbour. Well, when I first started doing a marine debris campaign some time ago, I used to see one of my neighbours (from a few miles away) stopping every day and taking his little bag of rubbish along a well worn path to the cliffs, where he chucked it over. I guess I coud have said something, but it seemed to me that my 'job' as an environmentalist was to raise general awareness of waste and its proper disposal so widely and so clearly that my neighbour would change his habits, along with so many like him.

It has happened. I don't pretend for a moment that it was MY work that did it, but my work was part of change that we encouraged and which has resulted in almost litter-free Ireland and the virtual elimination of plastic bags, a world first. My neighbour's path to cliff has grown over and what was accepted only a few years ago would now be considered unacceptable.

If we could do for light pollution what we all did for litter...

Happy New Year!

Tony

Tony Lowes
Allihies,
Co. Cork
087 2176316
"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones".
(John Cage)

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14 years 7 months ago #20968 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
Hi,

Good to hear from you Tony. I think we owe quite a bit of thanks to you for highlighting light pollution in Ireland, yourself and Colm O'Brien were campaigning long before many of us here got involved.

I thought the article was a fairly good one, pitty about the picture mind you!

I'll try and get our legal people to check out what rights we have - I assume that because England introduced the legal concept of light as a 'statuatory nuisance' it will be necessary to do so here but maybe not.

Either way it will be down to enforcement. And the UK Dark Sky folks have concerns that since it is tricky to get a light declared a nuisance legally, that not much practical use will come from this.

I had a thought.
DARK SKIES DAY
I was wondering if you all would be interested in raising the campaign profile this year by linking into a 'Dark Skies' day or week internationally?


Great Idea. The idea was raised an an ESA conference a year or two ago but for one reason or another it never took off. I think the best place to get this idea implemented would be in the 'European Dark Sky Symposium', thats not happening until September in Portsmouth, but it should have all the affiliated dark sky campaigners from Europe in one place. FIE's media capabilities would be most welcome for this, and I'm sure the local astronomy clubs can help out.

THE NEIGHBOUR
If we could do for light pollution what we all did for litter...

True, though I've got mixed results from approaching people about lights. Mostly people are understanding, and even apologetic not realising where their light was actually shining. Other times, well, perople have been less polite!

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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14 years 7 months ago #20978 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment
Tony,
first, I would re-iterate what Abert said.

Second, in addition to your public 'appearances' in the papers, would you try getting pamphletts and brochures into libraries, and even to clubs here? Albert has done so in the past, but were related to Armagh, not down here. Something that would relate directly to ourselves would be of great help. I think you would get a lot of support from IFAS clubs, and with 3 national Star Parties in any one year hosted by some of them, you could get more free publicity too.

Seanie.

P.S. Coming up in 3 weeks is the Connaught Star Party - perhaps with the short notice, you could try getting a poster or 3 over to them.

P.P.S. TAS has Cosmos in April - I think I would speak for the committee when I say that you would be more than welcome to come down in person to Tulamore, and set up a table for an exhibit, as an example.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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14 years 7 months ago #20979 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re: Friends of the Irish Environment

Second, in addition to your public 'appearances' in the papers, would you try getting pamphletts and brochures into libraries, and even to clubs here? Albert has done so in the past, but were related to Armagh, not down here. Something that would relate directly to ourselves would be of great help. I think you would get a lot of support from IFAS clubs, and with 3 national Star Parties in any one year hosted by some of them, you could get more free publicity too.

You got some budget you're not telling us about? :-)
The Armagh leaflets were free. Well they were paid for by the Northern Ireland Electricty board.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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14 years 7 months ago #20997 by Tony Lowes
Replied by Tony Lowes on topic Friends of the Irish Environment
Hi All -

Hummm.

I think the best place to get this idea implemented would be in the 'European Dark Sky Symposium', thats not happening until September in Portsmouth, but it should have all the affiliated dark sky campaigners from Europe in one place. FIE's media capabilities would be most welcome for this, and I'm sure the local astronomy clubs can help out.


That sounds realistic, the way things do when they are a long way off! FIE is best at the Press Releases as they are almost zero cost, except for time.

A brochure would be good - one could perhaps adapt one? Maybe someone involved does graphic design is on your lists - its makes such a difference. It sounds like there would be opportunities to use them at various events. These days you can print a a few at a time.

Funds! I'm wondering if this is a stage at which Irish Dark Skies could seek to be recognised as an ENGO. For the last three years the Department of the Environment has been providing core funding (and funds for certain intergovernmental conferences and submissions onpolicy) to the ENGO Core Funding Secretariat for distribution to the ENGOs.

You have to be national - and you have to be a limited company or have a Constitution - I don't know how much Dark Skies is or wants to be an organisation but the funds are about 3000 - 4000 per year. That's how we run FIE, and so too severfasl other small ENGOs - FIE is all volunteers, most of us working as consultants or in the law or politics as a day job - aside from contributions from the internet. It's worth having a Pay Pay account (most of the systems wont take donations, only product sales) set up and taking contributions by credit card on this site - there are people out there who want to help - we had one yesterday for 150 - turned out it was a fellow in California who worked as an environmental lawer, has Irish roots, found the site, and wanted to help...

Its probably too much and not in line with the way Dark Skies is evolving, but I thought I would mention it.

And begin to prepare for September. Is anyone going from Ireland? Will I find a notice of the event somewhere?

Tony

Tony Lowes
Allihies,
Co. Cork
087 2176316
"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones".
(John Cage)

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14 years 7 months ago #21030 by Keith g
Replied by Keith g on topic Re:

I approached them on the subject before Christmas and they were very accommodating and all apologies about the problem


I've got this coming - a neighbour of mine has recently obtained a sodium streetlight (probably not very legal) pointed it horizontal about 10 foot up a tree!!!!!!, and every night has it pointing towards our bedroom window since early December, I hope this will be taken down by the end of this week, as I think it may be due to christmas time, but if not, i'll have to approach them by Saturday because our sleep is affected by this.

I don't know much about the nuisance law - how enforcable is it here in Ireland? This has really got my goat :evil: literally! and makes unpleasant viewing, my wife has told me that they are not very nice people :? I hope for the best.

Keith..

If a telescope can fit into your backyard it's too small. If you can't move it, it's too big." -- John Dobson

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