This Scared Me

With so much devastation happening in the world, I don’t look forward to the news these days. This morning, I should have kept it off, because the news I heard scared the crap out of me.

According to the UN'S World Meteorological Organization (WMO), "depletion of the ozone layer ... has reached an unprecedented level over the Arctic this spring because of the continuing presence of ozone-depleting substances."

Basically, the ozone layer above the Arctic has suffered a record-setting 40% loss this year. Seriously scary.

I learned about the ozone layer when I was around 10  years old and pretty much realized its importance in about 10 seconds. For those of you who fell asleep in science 101, the ozone layer absorbs 97–99% of the Sun's high frequency ultraviolet light, which is damaging to life on Earth . The ozone layer is simply a protective shield for earth and its inhabitants. In other words, our survival depends on it.

While researchers are blaming everything from unusually strong winds to the planet’s cold weather, I think it’s pretty obvious that ultimately humans are to blame. Namely, our special “care” or lack thereof of our planet. Man-made climate change and pollution play a significant part, no matter how high the winds might be blowing. We cannot deny our reckless behaviour and utter disregard for the planet and people.

I am not the greenest person on earth, but I recognize that change begins with me. My impact can come in a variety of ways- being more diligent in measuring and limiting my carbon footprint and doing the small, easy things (using less gas, conserving water, resisting the urge to drive) that go a long way for Earth.

On top of that, one important way to contribute is through civic engagement. Whether supporting important green legislation or fighting back against dangerous profit driven propositions that hurt people and planet, your voice matters. We can’t change humans mistakes of the past, but we can all be better stewards of the planet in the future. If you ever needed a wake-up call, consider the WMO announcement it. The ozone layer is trying to tell us something and I, for one, am listening.

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