Good example: University of Turku launches light pollution campaign in response to call-to-action | SDSN Northern Europe
Turku harbour by night with waterfront, buildings, boats under a highlightened sky
The city of Turku is lit up by artificial light at night which impacts both human health and the environment. The University of Turku now draws attention to this problem through several activities on light pollution.
Foto: Nick Chalkiadakis, Unsplash

Good example: University of Turku launches light pollution campaign in response to call-to-action


In response to SDSN Northern Europe's call-to-action during International Dark Sky Week 2-8 April, the University of Turku is launching a dedicated campaign to address the issue of light pollution.

After becoming inspired by one of SDSN Northern Europe’s member meetings, the University of Turku is launching a dedicated campaign to draw attention to light pollution.

Light pollution presents a complex challenge with broad implications for the environment, human health, and astronomical observation. However, there are simple steps that can be taken once awareness is raised.

The initiative at the University of Turku is led by Jutta Mäkinen who works as a Specialist in Sustainable Development, Partnerships and Strategic Engagement​. Jutta and the team at the university arranges several types of awareness raising activities.

Internal evaluation and lights out

Firstly, the university aims to systematically evaluate its premises to gauge the extent of light pollution and its environmental impact. This evaluation will serve as a basis for internal communication within the university community, raising awareness and advocating for more sustainable lighting practices.

Also, most of the outdoor lighting on the university's campus in Turku will be switched off between 23-05 during the week-long event. Courtyard, street and staircase lights are switched off on the University Hill, lower campus and Kupittaa campus.

“One building is excluded from the Dark Sky Week because the lights are dimmed at night anyway. Another building is also excluded due to the fact that it has 24-hour operations," says Head of Campus Services Anna Vuolle from the University's Facility Services. 

By switching off the outdoor lighting, the university aims to raise awareness of the importance of responsible outdoor lighting among staff, students and the local community.

Spreading awareness beyond campus

In addition to internal efforts, the university is leveraging its online platforms including the website, social media channels, and blogs to disseminate information about light pollution to a wider audience.

The University of Turku will also host a public event on light pollution at the Turku city main library during the campaign week. This event aims to provide attendees with insights into the causes and consequences of light pollution, as well as potential solutions to mitigate its effects.

Urban test bed for dark sky preservation

Universities, commonly situated in urban city centers, have the opportunity to combat light pollution and set a positive example within their communities. By conducting internal evaluations, engaging in educational outreach, and actively involving the public, the University of Turku is an inspiration for institutions seeking to tackle light pollution and similar environmental concerns.

Read more about the activities arranged by the University of Turku [In Finnish]

What is the International Dark Sky Week?

It is a worldwide celebration week to build awareness about the harmful effects of light pollution and the importance of the global nighttime environment. This year it will take place during 2-8 April.

Learn more about the week and Dark Sky International