presentation of the Observatory
From the Renoir research group to the Nocturnal Environment Observatory
The Nocturnal Environment Observatory is the successor to the RENOIR (Nocturnal Environmental Resources and Territories) research group. It continues the collaborative work started in 2013 by this multidisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners on the preservation and valorisation of the nocturnal environment. The Renoir Research Group was created on the occasion of the creation of the Pic du Midi International Dark Sky Reserve, the first "protected area" dedicated to the preservation of the starry sky in France. The group has gradually developed links with many managers, technicians and educational institutions concerned with lighting and light pollution and their relationship with environmental protection. Originally positioned in the social sciences, this research group has gradually increased its exchanges with other scientific communities, allowing it to develop radically interdisciplinary work at the interface between environment and society.
Why the Nocturnal Environment Observatory?
The Nocturnal Environment Observatory organises this interdisciplinarity and aims to answer the social, environmental and health questions raised by the negative effects of artificial light at night (ALAN). It is also oriented towards action on the ground. It supports the development of local initiatives and policies dedicated to the nocturnal environment (education and training on reducing the light footprint and enhancing the value of the darkness resource). The project was conceived in 2017 and is now taking shape thanks to the support of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the long-term activity managed with several local partners.
The Nocturnal Environment Observatory brings together scientists from various CNRS research institutes (INSHS, INÉE, INS2I, IN2P3) and from the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), researchers and lecturers in environmental geography, spatial and urban planning, landscape ecology, artificial intelligence and astrophysics. Beyond the academic sphere, the Observatory draws on the skills and expertise of professionals who are able to operate at the interface between ecology, lighting design and landscape sciences in land-use projects.
The scientific stance of the members of the Observatory
The scientific stance of the researchers and practitioners of the Observatory is at the same time critical and propositional. It is not limited to a linear logic that separates the times, places and actors of knowledge from those of action and decision. It proposes an approach that is part of the cumulative process of science and that offers concrete solutions in context, based on the intersection of interdisciplinary academic knowledge, vernacular knowledge and lived experience. Our work alongside the territories thus invites us to inject conviviality into a local scientific approach, conceived at a fine scale and favouring the sharing of knowledge and the construction of involvement and participation at the grassroots level.