The Ozone Layer is Mending, and With It Our Future
January 24, 2023
The future of the Earth lies in our hands — hands that have proven capable of healing when we Invest In Our Planet.
In 1985, physicist Johnathan Shanklin compiled data from the previous decade and published findings that shocked the world: the ozone layer was being depleted. Over the course of the preceding years, the UV radiation hitting our Earth had increased significantly, indicating a hole in the atmospheric shield protecting us. Without action, global temperatures would rise an additional 1 degree Celsius by 2050 and millions of cases of skin cancer and cataracts would plague society.
On September 16th, 1987, just two years after Shanklin’s publication, The Montreal Protocol was implemented. Governments around the world met and agreed to policies aiming to regulate the production and use of ozone-depleting chemicals that were causing the damage. Since then, amendments have been made to completely phase out these chemicals.
Now, nearly 40 years later, those efforts have proven successful. A scientific assessment backed by the United Nations reported that the ozone layer is mending, with the hole over Antarctica expected to be patched by 2066. What could be considered one of the greatest ecological victories of our time, the restoration of the ozone layer, is proof that we hold the power to enact real change. When we as governments, businesses, and citizens have a political will strong enough to place our trust in climate science, collectively organize humanity, and Invest In Our Planet, we can make reparations.
That’s not to say it will be easy. Just with current climate policy, the Montreal Protocol did not occur without opposition. Many authoritative figures of the time disputed the science behind the ozone depletion, claiming researchers merely wanted more investment money or to propagate a political agenda. Regardless, the need for immediate action empowered people to fight for our Earth. They managed to get it done, and so should we.
We are all responsible for the future of our Earth and only together will we be triumphant in the battle against climate change. When a problem is taken seriously and we seek to address it, collectively, as a planet, we can achieve great feats. Invest In Our Planet, the theme of this year’s Earth Day, is a call to arms for everyone on Earth to mobilize in our fight. Together, we possess all of the tools necessary to combat the climate crisis, we need only find the collective will, political and otherwise, to bet on ourselves, our economies, our countries, and the health of planet Earth.