Municipalities in the greater Geneva area will turn off public lighting on Thursday evening to raise public awareness of the harmful effects of light pollution.
A total of 149 out 209 municipalities in the greater Geneva region - that includes parts of France and the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Vaud - have decided to support the “It’s a beautiful nightexternal link” initiative on September 26. Other partners behind the initiative include the Geneva Museum of Natural History, the Geneva Astronomical Society and the Maison du Salève in Présilly, France.
"After water pollution in the 1960s and air pollution in the 2000s, it is now time to become aware of the effects of light pollution," said Pascal Moeschler, curator of the Geneva Museum of Natural History, quoted in a statement.
The consequences of light pollution include disruption of the biological rhythms of fauna and flora, degradation of natural habitats, risks to human health and unnecessary energy consumption. September 26 was chosen on purpose as the visibility of the Milky Way should be optimum at sunset.
Organisers of the event hope that locals will leave the house and look at the night sky. Some municipalities will also offer specific activities, such as astronomical observations, conferences, exhibitions or concerts. More than 50 amateur astronomers have also planned to set up at 30 sites, where they will make their equipment available and share their knowledge with the public.