Lessons from the Ozone: why the healing of the ozone layer is big news for humanity
Flashback to 1985 - or as many know it, the year Back to the Future came out. Scientists had recently discovered a dangerous hole in the Earth's protective ozone layer... A hole that risked exposing people, crops, and nature to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.
The good news? A recent UN-backed report has shown that much of the ozone layer is on track to fully recover by 2040, for most of the world. This is in the wake of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international agreement that has helped eliminate 99% of ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - which were used as refrigerants, solvents and aerosol sprays at the time.
Not only did it save us from a potentially catastrophic disaster, but it has shown us that, if enforced, global environmental agreements do work... And can work again with climate change.
While the climate crisis has added complexities in the way of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide lasting in the atmosphere for longer than CFCs and being emitted from many parts of society (instead of just a handful of companies), it still offers encouragement that humanity can decisively come together to act, when required.