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International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
by Asa Butcher
2006-09-17 09:11:05
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When I was a kid back in the '80s, we were introduced to the word 'ozone'. Initially, we all thought that it was a cool name for a new kid's television show or a brand of mountain bike, but we all soon came to learn, via greenhouse diagrams, that this invisible barrier in our upper atmosphere keeps dangerous stuff from the sun out. Scientists appeared on the news looking serious and warned us that there was a rather large hole above Antarctica and it would keep increasing in size unless something was done.

Twenty years later, the same scientists are now unsure whether the hole is getting larger or even if it is an issue, but my question is: Why take the chance? Is reducing exhaust emissions really a problem for an automotive industry that managed to put cup holders into their latest cars? There didn't seem to be any problem ensuring that those polluting refrigerators were dumped and replaced with their Ozone friendly cousins.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is effective and working. There has been tremendous progress in global efforts to repair the ozone layer and, consequently, there are now early signs that we are on the road to recovery of this precious life-support system.

According to a series of scientific assessments made by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), more than 300 scientists from 34 countries have found clear evidence of a decrease in the abundance of ozone-depleting substances in the lower atmosphere. In addition, improved chemistry-climate modelling estimates total ozone layer recovery over Antarctica by about 2065; 15 years later than the previous estimate.

Words, such as these, inspire hope and remind us that we do have a precious life-support system. There are times that we may think that we have passed the point of no return and that the horsehair supporting the Sword of Damocles is finally going to snap, yet miraculously it remains in place for another day, another month, another decade. Don't abandon all hope and begin looking at real estate on the moon because we might just save the planet after all.

Nobody said it would be quick, nobody said it would be easy, but nobody said you would have to do it alone either. This is the greatest team challenge the world will ever face and the responsibility does not only sit on the shoulders of global governments. Each of us can do our part, no matter how small, since we contribute to the pollution every day of our lives. Imagine in 2065 being able to bore your grandkids with the story of how you helped save the planet.

The theme of this year's observance, "Protect the Ozone Layer: Save Life on Earth", invites the international community to build on its achievements to date by accelerating the phase-out of ozone depleting substances. "I appeal to Governments, in partnership with industry, non-governmental organizations and citizens all over the world, to celebrate this year's International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer by promoting activities that will continue to sustain public and political awareness until the task is fully accomplished," concludes Kofi Annan.

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John2006-09-16 19:09:49
What can we do? I don't believe that there will ever be a enough of a revolution to save this planet from the effects of Mankind. Saying, "Sorry, I won't do it again," just won't cut it with Mother Earth...Father Time is standing beside her ready to kick our collective ass.

Robert2006-09-16 22:55:04
But I can agree with doing nothing either. There are always things we can do, first of all educate people! after all they are part of this enviroment

Sand2006-09-21 12:54:32
It's important to discern the difference between the ozone problem and global warming. There have been reports that the ozone, which is a variant of oxygen created by the ultra-violet from the Sun reacting with normal oxygen in the atmosphere is slowly recovering since refrigerant gases such as freon has been replaced in refrigerators. Globing warming predictions are less optimistic.

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