Throughout history, light has been considered good. The discovery of fire not only provided heat in the cold — it also gave light in the dark.

We are instinctively drawn to light and shy away from dark. Light means not only illumination from the sun or electricity — it also means knowledge, spiritual awareness, understanding … even a distinguished person or someone who is adored.

Yet today we hear talk about "light pollution" and calls for "dark skies" from some groups and individuals. What is "light pollution"? Air pollution means toxins in the air; water pollution means toxins in the water. But "light pollution" doesn't mean toxins in the light. This phrase is used to refer to electric lights in urban areas that interfere with amateur astronomers who want to engage in their hobby in their own backyards.

According to David B. Kopel and Michael Loatman, "Advocates of harshly restrictive dark sky laws have invented the phrase 'light pollution,' a misleading term that should be banished from public discussion." Kopel and Loatman, both amateur astronomers, wrote the issue paper "Dark Sky Ordinances: How to Separate the Light from the Darkness" for the Independence Institute, a nonprofit think tank. The entire report is available for download here.

Many law enforcement agencies and other organizations interested in public safety are concerned that restrictive "dark sky" ordinances are being passed by municipalities, often because the elected officials don't have access to complete information.

The purpose of the Illumination and Education Society: Light Sky Dark Sky is to provide facts and information about the night sky, dark sky ordinances, light pollution, light and safety, lighting and commerce/business/taxes, and energy cost savings. Our goal is urban areas that have adequate lighting for safety and commerce, where businesses thrive and produce tax revenue, and where people of varying interests can live together in harmony. Toward that end, we are committed to providing up-to-date and complete information to anyone interested in the night sky, safety, energy conservation, business, and tax revenues.