It's the ozone's hole's birthday. OK, so the hole didn't appear 25 years ago, but it is the anniversary of the Worldwide Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer. As a vegan, I feel this is of utmost importance. This layer is, as most of us know, the reason why we don't burn up in no time due to the sun's rays. If it wasn't there, no living organism could exist on this planet. Therefore, we wouldn't be here, nor the animals, nor the vegetation that feeds some of us and houses all.
This famous protocol is an agreement to work together to stop using products that destroy the ozone, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC - once used for refrigerants, for example). These chemicals take a long time to break down after making its way into the atmosphere, which explains why they damage the ozone. Over time, they producte a hole that can lead to UV rays making their way more easily to the Earth's surface.
The team who researched the effects of the holes are based in Montreal, Canada. The are part of the Ministry of the Environment, which is currently suffering from heavy budget cuts, thanks to Canada's Prime Minister's carelessness towards the health of the planet. Stephen Harper would much rather spend money on remembering a war that most Canadians and Americans can't even name, much less say when it happened or why (The War of 1812). I don't remember this; do you?
Today, this team has been disbanded. Those who originally worked on the protocol are either retired or transferred to another section. However, they are desperately needed; the tool that mesures the thickness of the ozone layer, invented by the very same team, still requires one of the original members to use it, as no one else knows how it is operated. This could lead to a devastating lack of information, which could result in an increase in global warming.
If this occurs, the North Pole will melt at a much higher rate than it is today, and the amount of ice left is far less than originally predicted. For a mother bear to succeed in feeding her cubs, she has to swim miles and miles before reaching a solid platform of ice where she can hunt. At times, the cubs don't make it, drowning part of the way there.
If this occurs, droughts in already dry areas will get worse and flooded areas will flood higher. In 2009, the President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, promised to transform the islands into a carbon-neutral paradise to set the example, hoping others would follow suit. The reason? This population will no longer have a home soon, if we don't do something to end global warming. The islands will disappear completely underwater.
If this occurs, poverty will increase because the populations who are the most impacted by global warming are the poorest. Their crops will shrink, their homes will either become unbearably hot or flooded, the animals in their environment will leave or die of hunger, and they will contract skin cancer because they can't afford sunscreen.
If this occurs, the list of endangered species will increase dramatically. More will leave the face of the planet because global warming disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem. Vegetation is no longer as it used to be and the animals' homes and food supplies either disappear or are forced to adapt to the changing situation.
If this occurs, the rate of skin cancer will skyrocket. More and more people will become ill from lack of clean water and lack of food.
In 2011, a new hole was discovered over the Artic. Can we really afford to put off any more environmental expenses?
Please take the time to write the Canadian leaders of the federal government to let them know that we all need to be able to live in a world where we won't be afraid of dying from cancer. Let them know that the ozone team needs to get back together again.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Conservative Party - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party (official opposition) - email@example.com
Bob Rae, interim leader of the Liberal Party - firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party - Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)