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Jari Lyytimaki

Abstract

Advances in remote sensing have proved to be highly valuable for the light pollution research and awareness raising. Maps based on night time satellite data can be used in communication campaigns aimed to improve the public and policy awareness about the extent and effects of light pollution and to justify appropriate management actions. However, visually appealing maps are also used in other communication settings. This article reviews different uses of light pollution maps and discusses the societal implications such uses. Based on examples of light pollution maps in different communication settings not directly related to light pollution debate the review proposes that the relatively wide popularity of light pollution maps may strengthen the impressions of artificially illuminated night environment as the normal baseline for human experience. This contributes to the loss of experience of the natural darkness possibly leading to generational amnesia complicating the management of light pollution. Multiple uses of light pollution maps and other visualizations should be taken into account when campaigns and policies aimed to support sustainable lighting are planned and implemented.

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Keywords

communication, framing, loss of experience, representations, shifting baseline syndrome, maps

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