Imagine if you could see the Milky Way from your front porch? If you live in the Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado, you can. The valley is home to Westcliffe and Silver Cliff International Dark-Sky Association Dark Sky Communities, where night sky quality is shielded from excessive light pollution through various measures taken by the citizens and the local authorities. While Wet Mountain Valley is known for the spectacular snowy mountains many visit during the day, the views are even more stunning at night.
This video was filmed as part of SKYGLOW (skyglowproject.com), an ongoing crowdfunded quest to explore the effects and dangers of urban light pollution in contrast with some of the most incredible dark sky areas in North America. This project is being produced in collaboration with International Dark-Sky Association (darksky.org), a non-profit fighting for the preservation of night skies around the globe. (synopsis via Vimeo (c) Harun Mehmedinovic & Gavin Heffernan)
While living in a heavily-built urban environment offers us a lot of very good things from easy access to services to a vast array of activities and cultural pursuits, one thing it most certainly takes away from us is a breathtakingly palpable connection to the natural environment.
Leaving aside the fact that this makes many people immune to the true impact of pressing issues like climate change and the rapidly-gathering pace of extinctions, it also means that we quite literally miss seeing things of great beauty such as the starry night sky.
Helping to combat this is the SKYGLOW project which exposes how much we have lost to our pact with urbanity by showing us how beautiful the night sky removed from light pollution.
It is, in one word, GLORIOUS and filmmakers Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović of Sun Chaser Pictures, whose work has been showcased by Laughing Squid, have done a magnificently moving job of showing us what we are missing with their stunning footage of the starry skies over Wet Mountain Valley in south-central Colorado in the United States.
You will never take for granted what the natural offers us when you watch these few minutes of sublime loveliness and natural power and you may think twice about switching on that light when you realise just how much it is costing you.