Why «Dark Sky» is The New Black in Tourism

Imagine hordes of citizens suddenly calling the city counsil of Los Angeles during an earthquake-caused power outing, as they worry from seeing strange, unfamiliar phenomenons they’ve never seen on their night sky before: The STARS of the Milky Way.

While artificial lighting certainly can have its advantages for human productivity and for installing a sense of security (though not necessarily actual security) in cities and industrial areas, it’s not entirely positive. With expanding, intensely lit civilization, people seem to forget about the grandiosity from which we’re created:

Learn about «Scotopic Vision», the «Bortle Scale» and much more here…

We tend to miss out on the 24 hour a day cycle, or even miss out on the seasonal cycle of the year. And on seeing the vast, endless, enigmatic universe in all its splendor. This is great planetary stuff, you guys… missing out on the chance for increased awareness of our own place as tiny little organisms in the vast universe would be a pity, wouldn’t it?

Light pollution

When light shines outside of its intended area of focus, it’s called light pollution. Blinding light is therefore, by definition, an example of light pollution. And though light pollution can be attractive in itself, light pollution also has its costs.

Exposure to light pollution causes sleep dysfunction and reduced scotopic vision (night vision). On a societal level, also the negative effects by exagerated use of fossil fuel for unnecessary power production, as well as creating significant biological changes in flora and fauna, are costs to consider.

Here in the Arctic, one of our greater, natural ressources, is in fact the darkness. Sensory Academy for instance, pride ourselves and rejoice with the fact that we have some really dark sky between november and february, perfect for aurora hunting.

Limited artificial lighting makes for spectacular nature experiences. In the darkness of polar winter, one example of course being Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. Same thing goes for other areas on earth which are not so highly populated, such as large deserts, big forrests and jungles, mountain tops and valleys, and oceans.

Dark Sky Destinations – Sensory informed tourism

Sensory deprivation has long been a pull factor steering tourist behaviour. From sensory deprivation tanks and silent retreats, visual (light) and auditory (noise) pollution has become the new black to address with new travel offerings. Hence, increase in naturbased tourism experiences. While urban conditions perpetually expand, and parts of populations become increasingly weary of sensory overload in cities, contemporary tourism stakeholders are now increasingly applying for certification as a Dark Sky destinations. People want to explore the darkness, which litterally has become «the new black». So exotic.

Inspite of Northern Norway offering some of the most attractive dark skies on earth, this country is still not represented with a single «Dark Sky certified» destination, which is quite weird, really.

Before the development of digital technologies, sea farers would navigate the seas by the help of simple trigonometry tools, the night sky and the stars. This, celestial navigation, is still used for finding our way around this planet and in space, when digital technologies for different reasons can’t be relied upon. How is that for vibrant travel experiences?

Furthermore, lots of additional storytelling, based on cultural understandings of the mythical sky images, can add value to people’s journies, when exploring the night sky.

Do you want to venture into the darkness?

You can check out your next awesome Dark Sky Destination on the DarkSky webpage below, and you might even be so lucky as to find silence in the exact same spot. How is that for a WIN-WIN?!

You can even go to their site and make a pledge of intention to take care of the night sky and prevent light pollution by pushing this button:

Did you know that April 2-8 is the international week for the celebration of dark night skies?

Oh, and in case you don’t already know about them, there are awesome apps to help you see constellations and hunt for Northern Lights. Just apply natural, intuitive search words on whichever platform you use.

So gear up and giddy up, my friend!

Enjoy the dark!