‘Losing the Sky’ raises environmental concerns at City College

Astronomy talk warns students of light pollution’s effects on the sky
City College professor Lisa Will, center, answers questions for the audience in the campus planetarium, Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Photo by Nadia Lavin/City Times Media
City College professor Lisa Will, center, answers questions for the audience in the campus planetarium, Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Photo by Nadia Lavin/City Times Media

San Diego City College students joined Lisa Will, a physical science professor at City, for the latest World Cultures Program presentation of the semester at the campus planetarium on March 13. 

The astronomy talk was a call to action for the sky to be a protected environment. 

“Is it just an astronomy problem,”  Will explained. “We’re getting companies that are able to impact the sky of the world and all they have to do is get FCC approval, but it’s altering the sky for everyone. No one was asked for their consent to have their sky altered.”

The different satellites in the Earth’s orbit are projected in the campus planetarium, Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Photo by Nadia Lavin/City Times Media

The World Cultures events at City inspire understanding, appreciation and the celebration of human diversity on our campus and in the world, according to the San Diego City College World Cultures website

Members of the audience were encouraged to use their voices to get satellite regulations put into place. 

“Astronomers don’t have money, we are not a lobbying group that senators listen to,” Will said. 

Members of the audience were in awe of the night sky before them. 

With “woahs” from the audience echoing throughout the room at the change in scenery, Will showcased what will be lost in the night sky if no action is taken toward making it a protected environment.

Arianna Rodriguez, 21, a fine arts and business student at City, explained they knew what light pollution was but they weren’t aware of the gravity or the situation.

“It’s really unprecedented, the hypercapitalism of it all,” Rodriguez said,  “I thought you were only allowed to send things into space within a regulated scientific organization. It makes me upset.”

“(The sky is) a way people tell stories, a way that people feel connected to their ancestors, it is the origin of our calendars, it is the origin of our system of time,” Will told the audience before dismissing them. “Contact your representatives to express concern, advocate that the sky should be considered in an environment.”

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