Fear of the light: why we need darkness
Publisher: The Guardian
Date Written: 23/08/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20603
Light pollution conceals true darkness from 80% of Europe and North America. What do we lose when we can no longer see the stars?
Which isn't to say the sanctity of the sky here is not being encroached upon. In the last decade, a handful of energy companies have begun extracting natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shales underneath Pennsylvania via hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a much-reviled practice that involves the release of gas or petroleum via a high-pressure injection of fluid through a narrow shaft bored into the ground. In Potter County, where Cherry Springs is located, there are 40 active fracking sites. The work cycle in a gas field is nonstop: energy companies not only rig up colossal, stadium-style spotlights, they also burn off excess gas in open pits or through steel pipes, in a process known as flaring. From afar, a flare resembles a giant blowtorch; clusters of flares are visible on satellite images from space.