SEDONA, Ariz. – Aug. 17 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Over two hundred Sedona citizens overflowed City Hall Chambers on August 15, to plead with City Council members and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to preserve their renowned dark and starry skies. Led by Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc.(KSB), a local conservation organization, Sedona residents enlightened their leaders “on alternatives to putting up 76 sodium light poles that would add to global warming and cancer, while turning this magnificent town into a Las Vegas strip,” according to Native Voices Foundation co-chair, Olympian Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee.
Councilman Rob Adams was cheered for apologizing for not conducting more of a public process before approaching ADOT to find solutions to reduce accidents on the city’s two mile strip of highway 89A in West Sedona. Over a three year period, six pedestrians were hit at night, (most alcohol impaired), crossing the five-lane highway.
*(Photo Caption: Satellite photos compare U.S. light pollution NOW compared to 1992! Why Sedona Residents are enlightening leaders about alternatives to erecting 76 light-polluting poles. Photo courtesy of NASA.)
“The pedestrian fatalities took place in an identified stretch of road which warrants a traffic signal,” said Barbara Litrell, President of KSB, which has been praised by Governor Janet Napolitano for their innovations over 35 years. “76 street lights are overkill, and the economic, aesthetic and environmental impacts must be carefully evaluated in order to protect the values of this small town. Safety can be improved using other solutions,” Litrell added. “
With America being the biggest energy guzzler and global warmer, raising awareness that preserving the starry skies of communities is another monumental way that Green Sedona is lighting the way toward reducing our gigantic carbon footprint, besides switching to natural cleaning products.
“We also considered the health impact, since one 250 watt bulb lit from dawn to dusk on 76 street lights, would emit 47 tons of CO2 per year, as well as a blanket of acid rain and chemicals like mercury, from Arizona coal used to electrify them,” said environmental scientist Matthew Turner, Green Sedona(.org) founder. “ADOT needs to catch up with greener states like New Mexico that converted to solar lighting over 10 years.”
“90% of Americans can’t see their magical star filled skies because they live in overly lit areas. Even dark sky cities like Flagstaff need to work hard to reduce light pollution. “Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory is locating more of their telescopes out of town to avoid city’s light pollution,” said Bob Carabell, KSB Vice President and International Dark Skies Assoc member (ida.org).
By night’s end, ADOT and the Council agreed to consider speed limit reduction from 40 to 30 mph, a traffic light where the fatal accidents happened, and other solutions such as solar lighting for crosswalks and sidewalk.
“With American and world cities vying for Green Leadership, the lessons and awareness from this battle could ripple… If thousands more cities reduced their night lights, all our children would have a brighter future, including preserving snow sports and the Winter Olympics,” said Chaffee.
Native Voices Foundation(.org) is a Colorado non-profit 501C3 partnership of Olympians whose mission is to “create joyful unity through sports and education to heal Mother Earth for all our children.”