Story written by Jarred Donkersley
I grew up in Arizona in the 90s as a skateboarder and punk rocker, marking me as somewhat of a political radical. I studied the colonial history of America, critical theory, and post-modernism in college, while the events of 9/11/2001 had me spinning deep into conspiracy theories and cynicism.
From 2010-2013, I started to pay more attention to news and visual culture from CERN/The Large Hadron Collider, NASA’s Curiosity Rover landing on Mars, and the Transit of Venus. I saw Saturn and the Moon through a telescope, saw the Milky Way for the first time, and promptly turned myself into an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer.
This journey has led me to study and promote dark sky conservation, science communication, and to become hypercritical of the rising problem of conspiracy “theory” in our culture and the problems of media.
It is a monumental task to fully unpack, debunk, and correct the simplistic claims of conspiracy theorists, the cynical, and the paranoid. Similarly, fighting against the widespread problem of light pollution and its correlation to climate change is like turning a battleship with an oar.
It is the culture of science to see reality in all its messiness, in all its incompleteness; to not rest on the ideological, but to strive for the accurate. The universe is stranger than we can suppose. We did not evolve to understand it, but with the tools of science, our imaginations and futures are basically limitless.
I find myself not alone, but somewhat lonely. We are destroying our planet and our culture from the inside out, at the same time we are achieving some of the oldest and highest hopes of humanity.
Here’s to all the other folks doing what I’m doing and a whole lot more. Hopefully, we can focus on more constructive efforts and not continually fight against the lowest common denominator.
Cheers to our fight.
For more of Jarred, follow @jarredpd and @darkskymatters