Written by Jo Lorenz
The ozone layer is a delicate shield of gas which protects our planet from harmful rays from the sun. Thirty-two years ago, this very delicate eggshell around Earth was under direct threat from the over-use of manufactured chemicals, including manufactured halocarbon refrigerants, solvents, propellants and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), referred to as ozone-depleting substances (ODS).
The phaseout of controlled uses of ODS helped protect the ozone layer for future generations, yet also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change. Furthermore, it has protected human health and ecosystems by limiting the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth.
The takeaways from the ozone layer depletion are stark reminders of what humanity can do - both to harm, yet then also to heal. It reminds us that we MUST keep up the momentum to ensure healthy people and a healthy planet!
So without further ado, aligning with the UN's International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, here are six simple things you can do to save the planet and fight climate change:
Photo by Thomas Richter
1. Use renewable energy
Choose utility companies that have been certified as using power from wind, solar and other renewables. This is far and away the biggest way for us to fight climate change. Please take action by voting for governments focused on renewable energy and/or by sending lobby letters to your local government officials and the big corporates in your city - because frankly if this doesn’t change, and change very quickly, things are looking drastic.
2. Invest in energy-efficient appliances
These products keep millions of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Yes it's an investment, yet you save money in the long run (and well, the planet needs you!)
3. Use less water
Saving water reduces carbon pollution as it decreases the energy needed to treat water before it gets to our homes. Remember the old adage, 'Once you carry your own water, you learn the value of every drop'.
4. Consume less - Consume better
Just remember, the most environmentally-friendly product is the one you didn’t buy. In the slightly re-vamped words of Easy-E 'Just Don't Buy It'! Yet if you have to buy something (which, let's be honest, we will have to do at some point), please consume within the circular economy
5. Drive fuel-efficient cars
Gas-smart cars, such as hybrids and EVs, obviously save fuel and also money. Loads more affordable options are exploding on to the market too, meaning I actually give a shit about cars for the first time in my life :)
6. Take action and speak up!
One of the biggest problems with climate change is that people tend to think someone else will manage it. Yet it is up to all of us! Talk to your friends and family, and force your representatives to make the right decisions. Send those lobby letters, scream for renewables! Because unlike that fourth email from your colleague marked 'URGENT', this problem will not go away if we simply continue to ignore it.
We can all make a difference by changing our own behavior, pushing our collective power from the bottom up - and consequently forcing our elected officials to up the ante dramatically in order to turn around this devastating climate forecast. So let’s force our governments to stop building walls and start fortifying solutions!
And thank you, International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, for the timely reminder that we CAN do this if we all get on board now!
Read more from Jo on her blog Conscious Citizen.