The ozone layer is on track to completely heal within our lifetime.
This news shines light on the success of climate change policies and how definitive collective action can have lasting positive effects on the environment.
According to scientists, the ozone layer is on track to be healed to the state it was at almost half a century ago. Finally, some hopeful news about climate change. Better yet, this healing process is likely to complete within the next thirty years.
Throwing it back to the 80s, with the Montreal Protocol, we went through a huge elimination of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were conducive to derivatives of dangerous chemicals such as methane, ethane, and propane—chemicals that were harming the atmosphere. CFCs were extremely widespread at the time, they were emitted by objects that people heavily relied on, such as coolants in air conditioners, cars, and refrigerators in the mid-to-early-90s.
These emissions resulted in the creation of a hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere, which ended up exposing us to ultraviolet rays (UV). But, a global crackdown on the use of CFCs as part of the Montreal Protocol, despite criticisms from industrialists and economists, allowed the ozone layer hole to stop growing. Today, we have little to no use of CFCs worldwide, as many nations have in fact outlawed the use of CFCs, allowing the ozone layer to slowly, yet surely, recover.
However, the elimination of the use of CFC’s and a recovering ozone layer is not enough to turn back the clock on the damage humans have enacted on the planet. The reduction of fossil fuels—which are now as widespread as CFCs once were—is now one of our biggest battles. By curbing our emissions of fossil fuels, or abolishing them all together, we can draw the clock back a little more and try to save the planet as much as we can. Sounds easy, right? We just repeat the same steps we took last time and everything will end well?
Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it seems. Research by various studies have shown that despite climate change being in action, many turn a blind eye, or divert responsibility, relying on external parties and sources’ perceptions of climate change to form their own ideas. This results in inaction towards innovative and productive changes. The fact is we have seen that quick and assertive government action can lead to positive change in the climate crisis. The ozone layer healing is evidence of that. It is no longer hypothetical, it is a reality.
First, let’s set a target to completely eliminate the exploitation of fossil fuels and the emission of other toxins into the atmosphere. But wait, there is another catch. We all have to work together. The climate crisis won’t be solved by just one person reducing fossil fuel emissions, it takes all of us to come together to make the plan work and save the Earth.
The future starts here. The first step starts with us.
Opinion Editor (Volume 49) | firstname.lastname@example.org — Kareena is a third-year student completing a double-major in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies and Philosophy, and minoring in Forensic Science. She has previously served as the Associate Opinion Editor for Volume 48. Through her involvement and contributions with The Medium, Kareena hopes to foster a safe and trusted space, while encouraging others to let their voices and stories be heard. When Kareena is not writing or studying, you can find her watching true crime mysteries or cooking.