Dark Skies

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
The faithful beauty of the stars.
Sara Teasdale

We live in a universe driven by cycles and spectra, and darkness as much as day is an important part of our world. However, since the late 19th century, we have filled our planet with electric light and stamped out the night, in some places almost entirely. The United States and Europe are now so lit up that 99% of people cannot see the Milky Way or stars.

The repercussions of this are only just beginning to be understood. Humans are generally diurnal (awake during the day), and we forget that huge swathes of life on Earth are nocturnal, depending on darkness to survive. Every time we flick on a porch light or drown the darkness with street lamps, headlights and always-on office blocks, we are slowly destroying the rhythms of our world in unimaginable ways.

Wonderfully, this is an easily and quickly-reversible form of pollution that we can do something about right now. In addition to making our lives more poetic and beautiful, reducing light pollution also saves a lot of money and natural resources.

Copyright Stephen Lioy - Photography and Travel Media
Photo: Stephen Lioy

Dark-Sky Writer, Guide & Consultant

My passion for protecting the natural night has led me to working as a consultant, writer and speaker on topics of dark skies, stargazing, light pollution and astrotourism. My eclectic background as a writer, travel professional and amateur astronomer has given me a unique perspective that combines easy-to-understand science with cross-cultural dialogue and philosophy, poetry and the arts.

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Dark Sky Advocacy
As a delegate with the International Dark-Sky Association, I work to promote their aims and campaigns in protecting the natural night on Earth.

Media Work
August 2020: Quoted in the Evening Standard about stargazing in London
August 2020: International Dark-Sky Association feature about my dark-skies advocacy work
March 2020: CNN article about my lockdown stargazing sessions

Work With Me

If you are an organisation, start-up or individual who shares my ethos and would like to collaborate on a project, please get in touch. My services are broad ranging and include tourism consulting, media work, interviews, content creation, training, presentations and nighttime events that help draw awareness to the beauty and importance of the natural night, as well as learning to alleviate fear of the dark.

Content & Communications
First and foremost, I’m a storyteller. Writing is my true love.

IMG_6308I’m currently writing a book that is a philosophical travel and nature memoir about darkness, stargazing and human nature.

With 15 years experience in print publishing and digital media, I am an expert content creator. Perhaps you have a product or service and need beautifully written words to engage and inspire your users or guests. Or maybe you require an eagle-eyed edit or thoughtful curation of words and images for your dark-sky park brochure, astronomy website, stargazing app or academic book.

I’ll make your words shimmer like Sirius.

Astrotourism Consulting
Astrotourism – tourism focused on experiencing the night sky – is a hugely growing trend in the travel industry. With 15 years experience working in travel publishing and consulting, I combine my passions and expertise to help destinations and tourism providers in understanding this lucrative new sector.

In the wake of COVID-19, tourism products will need to be greener, more sustainable and more focused on local natural surrounds, which makes astrotourism a prime example of the way forward for the travel industry. I offer:

  • Astrotourism training for tourism providers and hoteliers
  • Full-scale astrotourism product development for parks, tour companies and destinations
  • Consulting on the process of creating an IDA-accredited dark-sky park
  • Helping destinations attract and engage with astrotourists
  • Working with developing nations to better leverage astrotourism
  • Leading night-sky tours, both locally and internationally
  • Advising on content, marketing and PR for astrotourism places

Speaking & Presentations
I offer speaking services and presentations about protecting the night sky, the importance of darkness, light pollution and general astronomy:

  • Speaking at events and conferences
  • Training for organisations, companies or government bodies
  • Media work, such as giving interviews, appearing on podcasts or sitting on expert panels
  • Astronomy and light-pollution education for schools and youth groups

Dark Skies for Wellness

Recent scientific studies have proved that nature is a fundamental aspect of human well-being. I am deeply interested in the ways that darkness and stargazing can have a positive influence on mental and emotional health. I am researching the philosophy of darkness and am interested in working on projects that combine psychology, sociology, spirituality and mindfulness to utilise darkness and the night sky for emotional healing.

Social Media
I am the creator of #starentine, a popular online stargazing event that has showed people how to view the night sky from home during the COVID-19 lockdown. I enjoy finding innovative ways to help people connect with the stars and the natural night through social media, and can work with organisations to create social campaigns or increase their visibility and reach on social channels.

Even if your project doesn’t quite fit with what’s listed above, I want to hear from you!

Please get in touch to chat about my availability and services.

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