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This petition is closed
4,832 have signed. Let's get to  5,000
4,832 Supporters

Stefano
started this petition to
Madame la Conseillère fédérale / Sehr geehrte Frau / Onorevole Signora / Dear Mrs Leuthard

Petition: «To preserve the night in the Alps»

The lighting for tourist and dramatic purpose in the Alps are increasing rapidly.

The Alps are a unique heritage that should be preserved and protected in its peculiarity.

Although these lights may seem beautiful and impressive, it is wrong to contaminate whole areas with electromagnetic rays of light.

The damage this light causes to nature is scientifically proven: health problems, endangering plant- and wildlife, the loss of the night sky.

Therefore we appeal to the Swiss government and Mrs Doris Leuthard, Head of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, to give the force of law to the SIA Standard 491 «avoid unnecessary light emissions in external space». This from the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA) published rule provides a sustainable use of light, to reduce unnecessary emissions without impairing the usefully ones.

To keep the nature by night as intact as possible, at least in the Alps region, your support is very important for this petition.

The board of Dark-Sky Switzerland

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Please take a look to some of the pictures and make your own expression on the official website of the petition:
----> http://www.darksky.ch/petition <-----

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Letter to Mrs Leuthard:
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Dear Mrs Leuthard,

You have knowledge of the proven consequences of light pollution: they reach from health problems and damages to the plant- and wildlife, to the loss of the night sky.

Undoubtedly we are witnessing an uncontrolled growth of light emissions.

We are able to use techniques these days for reducing unnecessary light emissions:

would they be used purposefully, it would be possible to extend the useful illumination without increasing emissions and energy consumption.

According to this we are pleased that:

- on the13th. of February 2013 the Swiss Federal Council has pronounced to favour steps to reduce light pollution (see [i]);

- on the 1st. of March 2013 the SIA (Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects) has published specific rules for avoiding unnecessary light emissions, (see SIA 491, see [ii]);

- The Federal Court in its judgment 1C_250/2013 from the 12th of December 2013 has extended the term of sleep on light emissions. The judgment refers to the SIA standard 491 and confirms its validity.

But, we are greatly disappointed that the illumination of the Alps proceeds without any restrictions.

- On the first of August 2010, the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) had allowed the lighting of the Terri lodge (see [iv]). Behind the lodge the Greina peak was also illuminated, which lies in the protected high level of Greina and is recorded in to the Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance (ILMN). (see [v]).

- in the past year (2013) the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC), on the occasion of there 150 years celebration, illuminated 25 lodges and the Alpine Museum of Berne (see pictures [vi]);

- In 2015, the county of Valais is planning to celebrate its 200-year affiliation with the Confederation, to illuminate13 mountain peaks in winter and 26 in summer.

In recent years, we are witnessing an ever-increasing use of the Alps during the night, both for touristic purposes (lighting of ski slopes and similar) as well as for spectacular purposes ("artistic" effect lighting).

We are aware that in some cases, as in the Valais, it‘s an illumination of a limited duration, but according to the organizers, the intensity will be so strong that the mountains will be visible over a distance of hundreds of kilometres.

We are convinced that the Alpine region is a unique heritage that should be preserved and emphasized.

However, we are convinced to appreciate and to learn to respect nature, it’s essentially, that we don’t damage it through our work.

The population should be encouraged to experience nature in its natural beauty, without wanting to change and exposing it to electromagnetic rays of light, which make it appear unnatural and endanger the ecological balance.

Today, it is sufficient to have sufficient resources to use nature for our own purposes.

The artificially illuminated mountains undoubtedly bring a strong visual impact, the highlight of the media and thereby legitimize, without even hinting that the mountains represent an ecosystem that is sensitive to external influences.

The Federal Court placed restrictions on the illumination of Pilatus already in the year 1997 (BGE 123 II 256), which was approved only within narrow limits, and explicitly stated the requirement for a special permission (see [viii]).

In other parts of the world Dark Sky Parks have been created [ix], in which there are clear limits to unnecessary light emissions and where the night will be protected in its natural state.

It is sad when one thinks in Switzerland, one must enhance the nocturnal landscapes by flooding them with light. Thus, the last remnants of semi-natural darkness will also be lost.

According to the Environmental Protection Act (EPA, [x]), which permits no harmful effects (Art. 1 [xi]) and the Federal Constitution (Art. 73 [xii] to sustainability), we ask the government:

- intervene and to introduce, as provided in Article 12 EPA [xiii] emission limitations due to the SIA standard 491 (in particular paragraph 2, concerning the design of plants);

- in spatial planning, specially to provide already in the SIA standard 491 paragraph 4.1 and 4.2 contained actions, as a commitment to preserving the night in plans for structural and land use;

- for the zones listed in the nature and landscape inventories as well as the inventories of their hunting regulations, to provide areas, which justify the increased protection against light, so that in these areas the change of the night is no longer tolerated, as intended by SIA standard 491, paragraph 2.4.

In anticipation of a clarifying opinion, we remain

The signatories of the petition «To preserve the night in the Alps»

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NOTES:

i - Proposal of the Federal Council (13th of February 2013) to apply steps against light emissions:
--- http://tinyurl.com/Vorschlag13-02-2013

ii - SIA standard:
--- http://tinyurl.com/SIA491-DE

iii - BGE 1C_250/2013 from12th of December 2013 concerning the application of SIA Standard 491:
--- http://tinyurl.com/1C-250-2013

iv - Illumination „Terri“-lodge 2010:
--- http://tinyurl.com/terri2010

v - ILMN objects (Federal Inventory of Landscapes and Natural Monuments of National Importance):
--- http://tinyurl.com/CH-IFP-BLN

vi – Illumination of the mountain lodges for the 150th anniversary of the Swiss Alpine Club:
--- http://tinyurl.com/CAS-Monte-Rosa
--- http://tinyurl.com/CAS-05-12-2013
--- http://tinyurl.com/CAS-03-12-2013
--- http://tinyurl.com/CAS-Coaz

vii - Tests for illuminating the Valais Alps:
--- http://tinyurl.com/VS1815

viii - BGE 256 II 123 concerning the illumination of Pilatus:
--- http://tinyurl.com/BGE-123-II-256

ix – International Dark Sky Parks
--- http://tinyurl.com/Dark-Sky-Parks

x - Federal Law on Environmental Protection (EPA, SR 814.01):
--- http://tinyurl.com/EPA-814-01

xi - Art 1 EPA:
--- http://tinyurl.com/EPA-814-01#a1

xii - Federal Constitutional, article 73:
--- http://tinyurl.com/CH-Constitution-en#a73

xiii - Article 12 EPA:
--- http://tinyurl.com/EPA-814-01#a12

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Official website of the petition:
----> http://www.darksky.ch/petition