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Hamacher, D. W., De Napoli, K., & Mott, B. (2020). Whitening the Sky: light pollution as a form of cultural genocide. J of Dark Sky Studies, 1(in press).
Abstract: Light pollution is actively destroying our ability to see the stars and disconnecting people from their deep-time connection to the sky, acting as a form of ongoing cultural and ecological genocide for Indigenous people around the world. Many traditional knowledge systems are based on the stars and peoples' ablity to observe and interpret them for a range of practical, social, and scientific purposes is critical. Efforts to reduce, minimise, or eliminate light pollution are being achieved with varying degrees of success, but the increased use of blue-light emitting LEDs as a cost-effective solution is worsening problems related to human health, wildlife, and astronomical heritage for the benefit of capitalistic economic growth. We provide a brief overview illustrating some of the important connections that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people maintain with the stars, as well as the worsening damage growing light pollution is causing to this ancient knowledge. We propose a transdisciplinary approach to solving the issues of growing light pollution, using a foundation based on Indigenous philosophies and decolonising methodologies.