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Bunya Mountains International Dark Sky Park - Local Government Support to Conserve Our Skies
Please sign our petition to urge Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC) & South Burnett Regional Council (SBRC) who share Bunya Mountains local government to support International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designation for Bunya Mountains International Dark Sky Park.
Letters of Support are required from both WDRC and SBRC for Provisional Status IDA submission and designation as an International Dark Sky Park.
Although SBRC issued a Letter of Support in 2017, disappointingly, WDRC is yet to issue a Letter of Support. It is almost unheard of internationally that local governments would not get behind the designation of a unique dark sky place in their area so please help us make it known to SBRC and WDRC by signing our petition that there is indeed widespread overwhelming community support for this very important conservation project.
Despite the increased tourism revenue for existing business in their regions and new astro and eco businesses establishing which would provide jobs for SBRC and WDRC residents, neither SBRC or WDRC has agreed to pay the cost of the Lighting Management Plan (LMP) for the lighting inventory & lighting standards for Bunya Mountains which the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance Founder and Director Marnie Ogg has quoted can be carried out for a very reasonable $20k.
Bunya Mountains International Dark Sky Park would 1) Celebrate the Bunya Mountains Dark Skies with numerous dark sky events held each year attracting thousands of tourists to the Western Downs and South Burnett regions; 2) Preserve the dark skies so future generations can enjoy them; and 3) Conserve Bunya Mountains unique noctural fauna & flora.
Queensland’s Minister for Environment has given “in principle” support so we ask SBRC & WDRC to now give us their full support. There is no street lighting in Bunya Mountains. A current light reading (Dandabah) of 21.78 by Dr Ken Wishaw in February 2019 showed we are already above the 21.75 IDA pre-2020 Gold Tier equivalence status. If house owners changed to exterior sensor lights, warm white or red light globes or solar LED sensor lights, not only would they reduce their electricity bills, but they would also be able to see the stars better & attract fire beetles, antechinus, powerful owls, fawn-footed melomys & other native fauna to their houses. Numerous scientific studies have linked artificial lighting to both breast & prostate cancer, sleep disorders & INCREASED (not DECREASED) house break ins so exterior sensor lights have many other advantages as well.
Other IDA designated International Dark Sky Places around the world including Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, New Zealand have experienced substantial increases in tourism, increased property values & rental yields & reduced vacancy rates.
But most significantly, the world's IDA designated dark sky places have all seen quantifiable increases in their endemic nocturnal fauna and flora population numbers where fauna spotting, catch-and-release number counts and floral quadrat surveys have been conducted.
By 2050, most people in the world will have lost their ability to see stars as light pollution increases at a minimum 3% annually. Creating Dark Sky places ensures that future generations will still have places where they can go to see the stars and feel humbled and inspired by the experience.
With its 1100 metre altitude, remote location and the glossy dark green leaves of the Bunya Pine forest, Bunya Mountains is a gift to the world as one of its most remarkable great dark skies.
For tens of thousands of years, people have been awestruck by the Bunya Mountains (Bonye Buri) dark skies.
Please help us to ensure that the Bunya Mountains dark skies are celebrated, preserved and conserved for many more generations to come.
Why is this important?
The world is quickly losing its dark skies due to light pollution. Light pollution doubled globally between 1992 and 2012 and at least 50% of the world will have lost their ability to see stars and the night sky by 2050 if the current 3% annual increase in light pollution continues. Bunya Mountains has unique fauna including fire beetles and powerful owls that need dark skies for their survival with Australia's vulnerable nocturnal fauna being at threat of extinction given the impacts of climate change.
Bunya Mountains is the primary natural areas tourism destination in Western Queensland. UNESCO recognised Bunya Mountains qualities in 2010 with the world’s largest forest of Gondwana period Bunya Pines & the cultural significance of Bunya Mountains (Bonye Buri) which is an Uluru equivalent 'holy mountain' of First People Australians.
These are the Aoraki McKenzie Zealand Dark Sky Reserve reports:
Winklmoosalm International Dark Sky Park:
How it will be delivered
Emails will be sent to the mayors, CEOs and executive managers at both councils & to Bunya Mountains Community Association Inc.
Bunya Mountains International Dark Sky Park will create a dark sky reserve where future Australians can see microbats, mountain possums, antechinus, fawn-footed melomys, powerful owls & the Dark Emu constellation in the Milky Way Galaxy ...which you can see with the naked eye in Bunya Mountains.