Monday, September 16, 2013

What we can Learn as we Reflect on the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Today is International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This day commemorates the 1987 signing of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. As we look back on how the world came together to combat ozone depletion we can take heart in acknowledging that when we work together we can make meaningful progress on important environmental issues.

The ozone layer shields us from harmful ultra-violet rays, specifically UVB which is known to cause skin cancer and cataracts. These ultra-violet rays can also be harmful to vegetation including the crops we grow which are critical sources of food.

In the 1970s scientists discovered a hole over Antarctica which culminated in the Montreal Protocol. This treaty curtailed the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were identified as a leading cause of ozone depletion. Subsequently other chemical compounds harmful to the ozone where also included in the treaty (methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, Halons, and methyl bromide). 

Thanks to consorted global action, the hole in the ozone has been shrinking and is expected to fully recover by the year 2075.

What we should take away from this landmark treaty is the fact that we are able to positively manage our impacts on the planet when we take collective action.

Hopefully we will soon see the merit of similar action and collectively agree to phase out carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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