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[ON HOLD] Dark Sky Preserve Creation Act

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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:06 am

Maowi wrote:
Boston Castle wrote:
  1. Member nations must work to identify areas that are suitable to be designated as dark sky preserves.
    1. Criteria for designation as a dark sky preserve shall be up to the discretion of the Astronomical Science and Technical Research Organization, hereafter referred to as ASTRO, and will include factors including local light pollution conditions, technology used to improve dark sky conditions through new or improved sources of illumination, and the development of a plan for user education on the preserve's purpose and goals.


"The factors listed that must be included in ASTRO's criteria seem ambiguously worded to me. Should an area be designated as a dark sky preserve because technology is already being used to improve dark sky conditions there? Or should technologies be used to improve dark sky conditions there after it has been designated a dark sky preserve, in order to keep it suitable for that purpose? The wording makes it sound like the former, and I am not sure that makes full sense. Likewise with the plan for user education.

"Given that you later add a requirement for investigation and protection of wildlife in dark sky preserves, I believe it would be sensible to add criteria related to the presence of and potential disruption to wildlife in the area."

Done? Maybe?

Thanks, Maowi!
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Maowi
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Postby Maowi » Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:12 am

Boston Castle wrote:Done? Maybe?

Thanks, Maowi!

OOC: That looks a bit clearer to me :D

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Postby Bananaistan » Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:57 pm

"What exactly does this vast bureaucracy achieve that member states can't manage on their own? Particularly when it literally can do nothing without the consent of the domestic government."
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Postby Sierra Lyricalia » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:35 pm

Bananaistan wrote:"What exactly does this vast bureaucracy achieve that member states can't manage on their own? Particularly when it literally can do nothing without the consent of the domestic government."


"I must echo my colleague's question, ambassador - I'm afraid this still has no teeth! Without a serious requirement - say, to designate all areas with less than some threshold population density as dark sky preserves, in which no new major sources of light may be constructed, and whose existing sources must be minimized or eliminated whenever a building permit is issued on their premises - why, this is just a boon to those bureaucrats who spend all day classifying things, and not an environmental regulation that helps anyone's biosphere or ecosystem. We favor the general idea, sir - my grand nephew tinkers with spyglasses and radio sources, keeps him out of trouble - but a stack of definitions topped with a couple of platitudes is worse than useless. Command the Assembly, ambassador! Issue rules and orders. If you're not stepping on someone's toes, you simply aren't doing your job."
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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:13 pm

Thanks for the feedback, thinking about how to go about things (not abandoning this, but am thinking about what to do), so it may be a few days before the next draft is up.
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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:19 pm

Working on this again, but a light bump.
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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:43 pm

[nudge]
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Maowi
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Postby Maowi » Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:33 pm

Boston Castle wrote:[*]In addition to the protection of pristine observational conditions, the authorities who will be in charge of the day-to-day running of a dark sky preserve must also protect wildlife populations inside of the preserve and create a long-term plan for conservation.
  1. Member nations may undertake research on the conditions of flora and fauna in the area to determine the affects of an absence of electromagnetic stimuli on local wildlife.

OOC: "affects" --> "effects"

"It seems somewhat odd to me to phrase this clause as a guarantee that member nations are permitted to undertake such research on dark sky preserves - perhaps it would be more aptly phrased as a recommendation or encouragement?"

  1. ASTRO may challenge removal of the designation and may investigate to determine if the designation should be removed.

OOC: You have an extraneous space between "and" and "may"

[*]A member state may not undertake action to alter the conditions in a dark sky preserve such that it no longer fulfills criteria as set by ASTRO unless it has received the express consent of ASTRO.

Likewise between "it" and "has"

  1. This requirement does not, however, release a nation from other obligations it has under international law in regards to endangered species in a formerly designated dark sky preserve.

Perhaps "Such permission" rather than "This requirement" might be more suitable given the context?

I think this is looking really good now overall!

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Imperium Anglorum
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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:25 pm

Echoing my thoughts at the start of the thread, I'm not supportive of an international organisation going into countries and declaring that certain zones are to remain fallow. Nations should be able to use their own land for what they think are important economic activities or whatever it is.

Some peak might be a great place for a telescope. If it's also a fantastic place to house people, build infrastructure, and encourage economic growth, I would hope people would choose, and have the ability to choose, the option that would actually help the most people rather than cater to the academic desires of the (very) few astronomers across the planet.

Edit: It would be different if the land were bought for a fair price. Or if the land were donated for that purpose with the revocable agreement both of the nation and the people who live there.
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Merni
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Postby Merni » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:56 pm

As written, this proposal feels very unclear and vague in many aspects to me:
  • What does it mean for "a multilateral system of dark sky preserves" to be "set up under the auspices of the ... ASTRO" (article 1)? Will ASTRO be the authority deciding on the extent and terms of usage (article 2) of the preserves (as people seem to be saying)? Will it be up to member nations, or property owners, to agree to the conditions of being a preserve, or will it be a unilateral imposition from ASTRO?
  • Who are the "authorities who will be in charge of the day-to-day running of a dark sky preserve" in article 3? ASTRO? Member states or their agencies? The property owner?
  • Article 4a saying "ASTRO may challenge removal of the designation ..." implies that member states or some other authority can unilaterally remove the designation without consulting ASTRO in the first place. Is this supposed to be true, and if so who can do this?
  • Why does article 5a extend only to "formerly designated dark sky preserve[s]"? Are member states absolved from the regulations of international law to protect endangered species in a current preserve, beyond the requirements of article 3? Is that even legal under the Amendment rule if that is true?
  • Does article 5 "A member state may not undertake action ..." extend also to individuals, including the property owner?
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Postby Ardiveds » Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:47 am

OOC: Here the nation seems to be the only loser. The land is being taken for purposes that may or may not be of any use to a nation. Really technologically or financially powerful nations may move away from terrestrial saterllites or find ways for telescopes to not even need dark skies to work (do tell if such methods already exist irl, I got no idea) while developing nations may not even have a space program and would rather just use that land to feed its people. This is bascially highway robbery of a nation's land.
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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:12 pm

Not so much a bump as saying, "going back to work on this".
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Uan aa Boa
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Postby Uan aa Boa » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:30 am

As this stands, if I were a government wanting to create a dark sky preserve I wouldn't officially designate it as such with ASTRO. Doing so would tie my hands in various ways in exchange for zero advantages. And if I were a government that wasn't interested in creating dark sky preserves nothing here would incentivise me to reconsider. It seems that it therefore accomplishes very little.

Light pollution is an important and unaddressed environmental issues, so I'd welcome more of a focus on environmental benefits. These might also be more persuasive a motivation than seeking to enable astronomy. A question then would be whether it's more important to establish a few preserves of minimal illumination in specific places or to reduce gratuitous light pollution everywhere.

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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:38 am

Uan aa Boa wrote:As this stands, if I were a government wanting to create a dark sky preserve I wouldn't officially designate it as such with ASTRO. Doing so would tie my hands in various ways in exchange for zero advantages. And if I were a government that wasn't interested in creating dark sky preserves nothing here would incentivise me to reconsider. It seems that it therefore accomplishes very little.

I think section 1(a) currently makes it a WA designation, allowing it to force land to remain fallow:

Criteria for designation as a dark sky preserve shall be up to the discretion of ASTRO...

Re my position on this proposal, I still feel that a nation faced with a choice of 'build industrial farms to feed millions, houses to house the homeless, and factories to lift the people from poverty' and 'build a telescope for the 50 astronomy professors in the whole country' really should pick the former and the WA should do nothing to stop them from making that choice by designating some land as dark sky only.

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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:23 pm

Imperium Anglorum wrote:
Uan aa Boa wrote:As this stands, if I were a government wanting to create a dark sky preserve I wouldn't officially designate it as such with ASTRO. Doing so would tie my hands in various ways in exchange for zero advantages. And if I were a government that wasn't interested in creating dark sky preserves nothing here would incentivise me to reconsider. It seems that it therefore accomplishes very little.

I think section 1(a) currently makes it a WA designation, allowing it to force land to remain fallow:

Criteria for designation as a dark sky preserve shall be up to the discretion of ASTRO...

Re my position on this proposal, I still feel that a nation faced with a choice of 'build industrial farms to feed millions, houses to house the homeless, and factories to lift the people from poverty' and 'build a telescope for the 50 astronomy professors in the whole country' really should pick the former and the WA should do nothing to stop them from making that choice by designating some land as dark sky only.

Would making some limit (say proportional to half of land designated as protected already, or only covering land previously protected) work?
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Uan aa Boa
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Postby Uan aa Boa » Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:41 pm

So just for clarity, you do intend the WA to mount a sort of hostile takeover of sites it identifies?

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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:48 pm

Uan aa Boa wrote:So just for clarity, you do intend the WA to mount a sort of hostile takeover of sites it identifies?

That's not my intention in the end because I'd really it rather be voluntary. My goal is simply for ASTRO to recognize these sites at its level and actively work with nations to improve them.
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Blue Nagia
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Postby Blue Nagia » Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:28 pm

"Being of similar mind when it comes to the importance of dark skies, chiefly to the wellbeing of countless species that rely on the day-night cycle for migration, procreation and other essentials of life, we of Blue Nagia would be delighted to support this proposal. However, it is definitely in need of some changes.

Specifically, as others have said, the proposal could be made much clearer with regard to how these sites will be chosen and set up, how ASTRO and the host nations will collaborate, and what exactly ASTRO plans to do if a previously designated site fails to meet their conditions. Blue Nagia feels this might not be an ideal matter for a WA proposal, but rather for a voluntary treaty which nations would be encouraged to enter into, with some compensation, should they wish to designate areas of their land as Dark Sky Preserves.

Blue Nagia would be honoured to be at the forefront of this change, and to work with the creators of this act to achieve their goals."
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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:32 pm

Boston Castle wrote:
Uan aa Boa wrote:So just for clarity, you do intend the WA to mount a sort of hostile takeover of sites it identifies?

That's not my intention in the end because I'd really it rather be voluntary. My goal is simply for ASTRO to recognize these sites at its level and actively work with nations to improve them.

I don't get this. At this point there's nobody forced to give up their land and nobody will volunteer their land to be never used for anything again. Presumably it would have to be revocable, but even if it were, then there probably would be little impact when nobody can be sure of the land usage for all that long.

Edit. Apparently because that wasn't clear enough:

If you're a landowner, be it direct or via paramountcy, you either can do what you want with it or permanently set it aside to never get anything done with it again. The latter seems like a terrible idea for anyone who is a landowner so they won't do it. There will be very few people taking up your 'offer'. If you changed it to make it a revocable grant to remove one of the incentives against giving the land up for this purpose, then the usufruct holder will not want to improve the land because the land and improvements might end up in reverter.

These arguments are exactly the same if the landowner is the crown, so I don't see a disjunction re public land. The Crown Estate wouldn't hand over land (inherently limited in quantity). If they are going to hand any over, it'll be the shittiest land that nobody wants, meaning that it'll be difficult to improve for astronomical purposes anyway. A dark sky in the middle of nowhere is not worth all that much if you can't put a telescope on it or send anyone to observe from it because they gave you Rockall.
Last edited by Imperium Anglorum on Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:48 am

Removed the clauses that I think were causing trouble for people re: land improvement and a state's ability/inability to alter the land.

So bump.
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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:59 pm

NIMBYs say they don't want 'urban elements' (insert whistle playing in the background) moving into their rural town and ask this agency to designate everything near the town as a dark sky reserve. When the government or other developers try to build on it, it creates a big fuss by muddying the waters. Why shouldn't member nations – the people who can actually enforce anything having to do with night lights – be the only group allowed to request designation? How does something get derecognised?

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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:30 pm

Imperium Anglorum wrote:NIMBYs say they don't want 'urban elements' (insert whistle playing in the background) moving into their rural town and ask this agency to designate everything near the town as a dark sky reserve. When the government or other developers try to build on it, it creates a big fuss by muddying the waters. Why shouldn't member nations – the people who can actually enforce anything having to do with night lights – be the only group allowed to request designation? How does something get derecognised?

Removed the derecognition clause, but presumably again "on request".

As for why I included private land benefactors and/or non-state actors, because of cases like this where it's not the state actor who owns the land.
Last edited by Boston Castle on Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Uan aa Boa
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Postby Uan aa Boa » Fri Apr 23, 2021 2:52 am

This still doesn't do anything. A government or landowner can get a site designated as a preserve if it meets certain conditions. Then it gets put on a list of such sites. There's a conservation plan for the site. Later, it can be removed from that list if the government or landowner wants.

There should be some incentive for creating a preserve. Perhaps funding or some kind of professional support for conservation measures or for education or astronomy?

Also, I assume you mean to allow ASTRO to remove a site's designation if the landowner decides to pave it over and cover it in floodlighting, but you haven't actually said that.

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Boston Castle
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Postby Boston Castle » Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:35 am

Uan aa Boa wrote:This still doesn't do anything. A government or landowner can get a site designated as a preserve if it meets certain conditions. Then it gets put on a list of such sites. There's a conservation plan for the site. Later, it can be removed from that list if the government or landowner wants.

There should be some incentive for creating a preserve. Perhaps funding or some kind of professional support for conservation measures or for education or astronomy?

Also, I assume you mean to allow ASTRO to remove a site's designation if the landowner decides to pave it over and cover it in floodlighting, but you haven't actually said that.

First thing, that's a good idea. Something like "ASTRO and other appropriate bodies will assist financially with any costs incurred by the land owner or member government for the site, such as markers for educational purposes and conservation measures for flora and fauna."

Second thing, yes, that was my intent.
Last edited by Boston Castle on Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:39 am

any costs incurred by the land owner or member government for the site, such as markers for educational purposes and conservation measures for flora and fauna

'Any costs' are not the same thing as the example descriptors. Examples of that sort are not generally viewed as exclusive. Under RNT, a nation seeking free things also would not interpret them to be exclusive, and it would be likely that such a view would win out in the end.

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