Niue declared world's first 'Dark Sky nation'
As light pollution increases across the globe, a small Pacific island is making every effort to protect its starry nights. Welcome to Niue, the world's first 'Dark Sky Nation'. ⭐️
Dark sky nation
What is Niue?
The island of Niue is the smallest independent nation in the world, with 1,600 inhabitants. Originally a state of New Zealand, the island became recognized as a freely-associated state by the United Nations in 1994. While they are not a member of the United Nations, they are a member of the Pacific Community and similar conferences. The island is commonly referred to as “the Rock of Polynesia” as it has a very rocky terrain. Niueans hold democratic elections for their villages’ chairpeople and assemblyperson for the Parliament of Niue every three years. The island was working towards green growth and renewable energy with the European Union but Cyclone Heta in 2004 set the island back in its efforts by two years.
This small Pacific island is the first nation to be recognized as a "dark sky nation." This accreditation highlights the island's commitment to protect the celestial arch as well as the exceptional quality of its starry nights. This quality is due to several factors. Firstly, the island’s geographical location, far from continents and their light pollution. Then, the measures taken by the government to replace all street lighting with low-emission light bulbs. Finally, the importance of night skies in the history and culture of the Niuean people. This is the first time that an entire country's sky is protected. This status was given by the International Dark-Sky Association.
What is the International Dark-Sky Association
The International Dark-Sky Association was created in 1988 in the United States by two astronomers. This organization campaigns for the protection of the planet’s celestial arch against light pollution, which has harmful effects on plants and animals that depend on light cycles to live. Human health is also disrupted, particularly the hormonal system and sleep cycles. Today, 8 out of 10 people in the world live under a night sky polluted by artificial light.