- PhMuseum 2023 Photography Grant
Protege Noctem – If Darkness Disappeared
Dates2021 - Ongoing
- Locations Italy, Switzerland, China, Germany, United Kingdom
For all of us, blinded by shards from billions of artificial lights (ALAN: Artificial Light At Night), the night sky is a tarnished patchwork. 83% of the world's population has never seen the Milky Way, the galaxy we inhabit. And in megacities like Shanghai, home to the world's largest astronomical museum, 95% of stars are invisible to the naked eye. Artificial lights, even LED lights, release a blue-tinted spectrum that dazzles the nocturnal ecosystem, and damages man's circadian cycle – our endocrine-inspired rhythm of sleep and wakefulness – encouraging the grim slither of diseases such as breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and depression. Epidemiologists agree the disappearance of the night – the obstruction of darkness at nighttime – threatens us just as much as pollution, alcohol and tobacco. "We ask the Commission to put in place an ambitious plan to significantly reduce the external use of artificial lights by 2030," wrote an alarmed European Parliament in its document: Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives.
But artificial light doesn’t only cause harm on earth. The multiplication of telecoms satellites creates crisscrossing beams of light that prevent astronomers studying the celestial heavens. And the natural world is suffering too: migratory birds fly off-course, insect species face extinction, and delicate leaves are completely surprised by winter. This is why defending the dark, averting its apocalypse, represents a groundbreaking battle in the ecological war we all must face. Protege Noctem documents the alliance scientists and citizens have formed to rally against the disappearance of the night and its creatures.