Don’t shy away from nature's dark side - celebrate it

Don’t shy away from nature's dark side - celebrate it

Before humanity discovered fire, people lived roughly half of their lives in darkness, relying on the moon and the stars as their guides.

Fast forward to today, and light pollution is all around us.

"It started with fire, and it's grown into billboards, street lights, porch lights, and car lights...we are so good at illuminating things," explained ecologist Charles Post.

Instead of shying away from darkness, campsite booking platform Hipcamp wants you to celebrate it.

Hipcamp created the Canadian Dark Skies Map. It's a first-of-its-kind tool that allows adventurers and amateur astronomers to find campsites where the stars will shine the brightest. The map overlays light pollution data from the International Dark-Sky Association onto more than 20,000 Canadian campsites to reveal the sites that offer the darkest skies.

"What we've done is we've used data from the International Dark-Sky Association, so they are out there mapping light pollution," explained Post. "By mapping light pollution, you can understand where there are places where there is still darkness, where that light pollution hasn’t seeped in yet or is minimal."

It’s all about finding destinations destined for darkness, so you can have the best stargazing experience on your next outdoor adventure.

"There's so much magic in nature, and it doesn't stop when the sun goes down," said Post. "By experiencing the starry sky, I hope it adds a rich layer to your fascination with the outside world and your connection to this planet we all call home."

With the help of this new tool, Canadians are encouraged to find a deeper appreciation for nature’s dark side.

This new appreciation may also ignite a spark for people to make positive changes at home to alleviate light pollution. It can be as easy as turning off a light switch.

"You're looking out your window, and you see moths at your light. They are attracted to the [artificial] light because they evolved in a world where the stars and the moon were their compass. These moths are dehydrated, and many of them are dying," explained Post.

Getty Images/Stock photo: Moths to light, night bugs, moth flying attracted to light.
Getty Images/Stock photo: Moths to light, night bugs, moth flying attracted to light.

Moths instinctively move towards bright lights. (Photo credit: Getty Images/stock photo)

By turning off a porch light, you can help protect Earth’s declining insect populations and help feed the species that rely on insects for food.

"It's a two-second effort [that has] massive impact for good on nature," Post added.

When planning your next outdoor adventure, think about the experience from the ground up. Whether sitting on the porch or camping in the woods, stargazing can make you feel more connected to nature, the cosmos, and the planet we call home.

Thumbnail photo credit: Getty Images