International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer - Our Safe Zone

A day for the Ozone Layer? How bizarre? The layer we rarely hear about only when we talk about global warming and why we need to wear sun cream. Ozone is a gas that acts like a shield filtering out the dangerous ultraviolet light from the Sun and protecting humans, animals and plants.

Does anybody actually think about how to save our ozone layer from getting any thinner?  In between working to pay the bills, family commitments and enjoying our leisure time, who actually thinks about how to close the hole that was found over the Antarctic in May 1985 which by 1996, had grown to an area three times the size of the USA. Toxic gases have caused this.

The Ozone Layer has its own protective paperwork known as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It is an international treaty that is aiming to phase out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion such as CFC’s that were discovered in 1928. One CFC remains unchanged in the atmosphere for over 130 years, and is responsible for around 45% of global ozone loss.  The Protocol was agreed on 16th September 1987 and was carried out from 1st January 1989, resulting in the slow recovery of the ozone hole in Antarctica.

You may think it is the Government’s responsibility to put laws and fines in place, which in part it is their concern. However, there are small changes that we could take responsibility for; sharing a car with a colleague to work, walking or taking public transport where available will help. Another way that is becoming more popular is to order your food shopping online so only one vehicle is being used for more than one shopping trip in a local area. People  are looking more into labelling of their cleaning items and to buy more eco-friendly products that will help with limiting the toxic chemicals in the air and down the drain.   

This is still not enough action though. Let’s get serious and make a bigger impact, the most important job you can do to help is part of why we you are here on Earth. You care, nurture, protect and teach children so they thrive and achieve the best they can from the day they are born.  You are their biggest role model and your decisions will affect their whole life. 

Let’s talk about motivation then. Most people do not litter in fear of a fine, or leave their light on unnecessarily due to the big bill. Solar panels and electric cars will also save the consumer money in the long run too. 

If it’s all about money when it comes to educating most people about how to help the environment, do we offer children money to make more Green choices? Do we have to? I have seen firsthand what motivates some school children where money isn’t in the equation. I have children eager to be part of our Eco Committee and Green Team who give up their time to pick up litter, recycle and turn lights and taps off. They have seen from enthusiastic adults who have given them problems and asked them for their opinions and solutions. They want to help, to the point of persisting with me to give them the tools they need to make a difference, something that just comes naturally to them and it is wonderful to be part of. Being part of an Eco School gives the teachers access to lesson plans to support the children’s environmental education even further. Start today and your great-grandchildren will thank you for it. 

More information on International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer can be found on their website.

Kerry Briffitt is Eco-Schools Co-ordinator at Hempstead Junior School

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