Mel Blake Associate Professor University of North Alabama Director, UNA Planetarium Florence, Alabama
I grew up seeing the Milky Way in my backyard and it would be a shame to be the last generation to be able to say that. As a professional astronomer, dark skies are essential for collecting good quality data for studying the universe. As someone who enjoys the outdoors, having pristine views of the sky at night is important and helps inspire the next generation of astronomers, and helps with public support for astronomy. It also is just foolish not to protect nature, and improve human health and safety. Everyone benefits when we protect the skies and put in proper lighting.