Night Sky Ambassadors

Lying on a dam, stargazing and sleeping out with the group I’m leading, in the middle of a camp in rural Kentucky. . There is a 0% chance of storms, and the sky is perfectly clear. As we look up at the night sky, a smog overcomes it. That smog is lights from an urban area a 20 minute drive away from us.

Coming over the trees, the lights of Owensboro, Kentucky, impede our stargazing. A yellow haze, exactly like the smog I used to see floating over Denver, Colorado, on really hot days when I lived there. The big dipper is halfway gone, swallowed up by the light pollution.

This probably isn’t a shock. We all know city lights impact your stargazing. It has been called light pollution for years, and when I traveled through Peru two years ago with Global Explorers, we all talked about being night sky ambassadors. But none of that really impacted me until I could see the lights impacting my beautiful stargazing night.

As the world becomes more populated and urban, so much is disappearing. Forests are gone, lakes and rivers are becoming polluted, the air is filling with smog, and fields are becoming parking lots. The night sky to some is an untouched wonder, but society is beginning to destroy that as well. We all need to be night sky ambassadors, by turning off our lights, and resisting growing levels of urbanization.


Mismanaged Flights

I leave for Madagascar in approximately two months. So today, while I was on my break from camp, I decided to check out my flights. To my horror, I realized I had scheduled my in-country Madagascar flights a day early. I checked my e-mails about seven more times until I admitted defeat: I had messed up.

As I started attempting to remedy the situation, I realized I was in a bit of a bind. I’m Canadian, with a Canadian phone, but am currently working at a summer camp in Kentucky, and I needed to call an airline in Madagascar. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford that phone bill. I searched for an alternative way of communication for another 15 minutes until I, once again, admitted defeat: I had to call my mom.

Luckily, my mom answered, and agreed to help me out even though she’s in the process of moving 14 hours north of where she currently lives. And, my flights have been worked out.

Moral of the story: you’re family can be extremely helpful, and quadruple-check your flights before booking them.