Students Parliament

In the Students’ Parliament Program, secondary students will discuss how European society should react to scientific developments and findings on Light Pollution. The themes are:

  • Impact on Biodiversity
  • Impact on Energy Usage
  • Loss of the Night Sky
  • Satellite Constellations

The structure of a Student Parliament has the following features:

  • Local student parliaments in local languages. Before the event, students engage in scientific study of light pollution issues.
  • At the parliament, the young delegates work in committees, meet experts from science and politics and write resolutions that they debate and vote on in a general assembly.
  • These resolutions are delivered to regional or national policy makers.
  • After the event, students report back to their class about the parliament and its resolutions, allowing them to share their experience.
  • The winners of each National committee will further demonstrate their arguments and outcomes on a pan European Committee panel.
  • Students participating in the WRO competition will be able to use their mockups for a light pollution friendly scenery to reinforce their plea in the parliament.

Would you like to participate in the Student Parliament on Light Pollution for 2023-24? You can read the relevant guide here.

Find some resources per theme in the following links.

Questions and background information to get you started:

Theme 1: Impact on Biodiversity

? Light is a necessary part of our daily lives. How should we use light responsibly in the future? Have we considered its impact on other species, especially nocturnal ones? Have we considered its impact on human health if we lose the dark? How might we balance the need for light with the need for dark?

! Estimates show that more than 30% of vertebrates and 60% of the known invertebrates are nocturnal species. Nocturnal species highly depend on the light-dark cycle for their visual cues, which are always necessary for navigation, protection against predators, reproductive success, feeding, and even growth (source: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.969945).

 

Theme 2: Impact on Energy Usage

? Light is a necessary part of our daily lives. How should we use light to best illuminate what we want to see? Are we using efficient light sources such as LEDs in the best way?  Are we saving as much energy as possible with them? Is light pollution contributing unnecessarily to global warming?

! LED lights are extremely energy-efficient, consuming up to 80% less energy than traditional lighting options such as incandescent bulbs. This not only reduces the strain on power grids but also lowers carbon emissions associated with electricity production. By switching to LED lights, cities and individuals can make significant progress in their commitment to sustainability and combating climate change. (https://energy5.com/the-role-of-led-lights-in-reducing-light-pollution)

 

Theme 3: Loss of the Night Sky

? Light Pollution – loss of the night sky Light is a necessary part of our daily lives. For millennia our ancestors were able to see the night skies. Are we in danger of losing this? Does it matter? Does it have cultural implications if we can no longer see the stars? Will our future be one where only a privileged few can see the stars?

! A startling analysis from Globe at Night — a citizen science program run by NSF’s NOIRLab — concludes that stars are disappearing from human sight at an astonishing rate. The study finds that, to human eyes, artificial lighting has dulled the night sky more rapidly than indicated by satellite measurements. A group of researchers found that the loss of visible stars reported by Globe at Night indicates an increase in sky brightness of 9.6% per year over the past decade. This is much greater than the roughly 2% per year global increase in surface brightness measured by satellites.

 

Theme 4: Satellite Constellations

? Light is a necessary part of our daily lives. Does the new breed of satellites in low earth orbit pose a threat to polluting the night skies? What do these satellites do? What are their benefits to societies across the globe? What range of measures could be considered to minimise their effects on our dark skies?

! “Satellite light pollution” has technically existed since the first artificial satellites were launched into orbit more than 60 years ago, but with the advent of multiple large satellite constellations made up of hundreds or thousands of small, low-orbiting satellites meant primarily for broadband Internet access, the number of artificial satellites around Earth is projected to increase by several orders of magnitude in the next decade alone. As the number of satellites continues to grow, astronomy is facing a tipping point situation of increasing interference with observations and loss of science. By the end of the 2020s, more than 5,000 satellites will be above the local horizon at any given time at a typical dark-sky observatory location (https://noirlab.edu/public/about/light-pollution/satellite-constellations/).

Student Parliament Resources

 

Resolutions Booklet template

  • Theme 1: Impact on Biodiversity (word, pdf)
  • Theme 2: Impact on Energy Usage (word, pdf)
  • Theme 3: Loss of the Night Sky (word, pdf)
  • Theme 4: Satellite Constellations (word, pdf)