So I'm in northern Connecticut at a boarding school packed with students from around the world. I visited three classes today and I gave a talk tonight. My sense? That most of these leaders of tomorrow haven't really thought about light at night... ever. That they've grown up swamped in artificial light and think that this is simply the way things are. That they haven't wondered if we could light the night differently. And in this, they reflect most of the people I meet. At least before I talk about the issue. Then, most people begin to think that yeah, it is dumb how we spray light in every direction--including into our eyes and into the sky.
But I think what I'm noticing most is that here, in the northern part of the state, in an area that is still fairly dark, the night still doesn't seem like something about which the students have thought much. They live their nights inside, in the light, and at 10pm they are expected to be inside their dorms until morning. Night--that is, natural dark night--just isn't part of their daily life. Of course it's cold outside, and of course I forgot my coat in Virginia, and of course it's supposed to be about 18 degrees here tomorrow, but oh well.
I just wonder when it's warmer if anything changes. If any of these bright and ambitious students spend time walking in the darkness, staring up at the stars, wondering where their life will lead. I bet some do. But what if all of them did, and if at this $50k/year school this was part of their education?