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The Causes of Ozone Depletion...how we can stop!
Despite the efforts of nations all around the world to reduce the amount of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere, the ozone hole is here to stay for at least approximately 50 years before these levels will begin to return to their normal levels. Since ozone depletion is such a serious problem for our environment, many ideas of trying to manually repair the ozone hole, have been developed.
Firstly, the most obvious of these solutions would be to add ozone into the stratosphere since there is such a high reduction in the ozone layer. Although this would have a chance of working, artificial ozone may upset the stratospheric balance. From what is known about the Antarctic stratospheric mechanics, the ozone levels have worked out a balance even with depleted levels since the beginning of time. The artificial ozone that's added into the stratosphere would most likely be destroyed and would not help our problem in the long run.
With this in mind, scientists decided to take another approach. Instead of trying to repair the effects of the problem itself, why not repair the source of the problem. A more "futuristic" approach is to destroy the CFC's when they are in the troposphere with high-powered infrared lasers located on mountainsides. CFC molecules are so dense, that they are able to absorb up to 30 infrared photons before they are destroyed, so a powerful blast must be maintained. However, it is possible that these infrared laser beams would be shifted out of the needed frequency range before they got to the level of the atmosphere where the CFC's were targeted to be destroyed due to the high altitudes.
Another possible plan developed was to chemically stop substances from developing into ozone depleting substances. This would be done by dumping about 50,000 tons of ethane or propane into the Antarctic stratosphere each spring. These chemicals would transform active ozone-depleting chlorine into non-ozone depleting HC1. The problem with this solution is that the hydrocarbons (propane and ethane) would unfortunately decompose in about a year, so this expensive process would have to be repeated annually.
Presently, the lack of information of the stratosphere and its functions are preventing scientists from developing official plans to solve the problem of ozone depletion. It is a possibility that efforts in fixing the problem may in fact make the problem even worse or impossible to repair. However, the ozone layer is not expected to begin recovery until around 2020 at the earliest.
Parties to the Montreal Protocol are expected to consider the ban on methyl bromide at the 10th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol this year. The 1994 Scientific Assessment on Ozone Depletion stated that banning methyl bromide in 2001 would substantially reduce ozone depletion during the next 50 years. Because of its short atmospheric lifetime, banning methyl bromide in 2001 will have maximum beneficial impact while ozone depletion is at its worst. Despite the numerous inconveniences this would cause, in 2001, a ban for industrialized countries followed by a developing country ban a few years later has been implemented. According to the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee industrialized countries use 82% of the world's methyl bromide. Methyl bromide is produced entirely by industrialized countries.
Although ozone depletion is occurring on a large scale, that does not mean that solutions to this problem may only occur on a grand scale. In fact, there are many things individuals can do on their own to help this problem. First, let's listen to Al Gore's thoughts on ozone depletion and global warming. Here, he describes some things that we can do as a community.
Now that you have heard the opinion of Al Gore, here are some things we as Catholics can do. First, in order to raise awareness, we can set up a study group on ecology in your own church. As a church community, you can write a letter to the authority figures in your city or town about your ideas to solve these environmental issues. To start, it would be a good idea to reflect upon the watershed in which you live, and read the pastoral letter of the Canadian/American bishops,
Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good
Within your community, you can also take part in actions that are designed to minimize your ecological footprint. For example, the 5R method of: reverence, reduce, repair, reuse and recycle is extremely effective in reducing the amount of waste in our environment and conserving energy and our resources. For more information on some practical ideas, refer to the guide prepared by the Ecology and Theology Working Group of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, October 2002,
Renewing our Relationship with the Earth: A Guide to What you and your Church can do
Presently, there are numerous campaigns and groups that are designed to raise awareness as well as contribute significantly to numerous environmental problems. These groups are frequently looking for new members to participate actively such as the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. This group in particular, contributes financially towards certain projects dealing with ecology. Currently, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is holding a campaign called "Water Declaration". You can show your support by signing this campaign at
It is obvious that there are many things that we as individuals can do to solve a problem, even if it is occurring on a global scale. The following recording is some ways that we are taking action to reduce ozone depletion.
Recording: Tara and Christine
After hearing what actions we are going to take to solve this problem of ozone depletion, we hope you have become inspired to take a part in saving our
as well. To start, we encourage you to partake in some events that raise awareness and help you understand what kinds of things you can do to help out this global catastrophe.
The following are three upcoming events in the year 2007, taking place in Canada and the U.S.A. set up by the
International Ozone Association
(IOA). The IOA has served as the central , worldwide gathering and disseminating point on ozone information, bringing together scientists, engineers, systems designers, technologists, equipment manufacturers, and end users to share their experiences and research data on ozone and other related oxygen compounds. These events are designed to educate people on the problems regarding the ozone and possible solutions to improve our ozone layer.
June 24-28, 2007
- AWWA Annual Conference and Exhibition 2007
Toronto, Ontario Canada
August 27-30, 2007
- World Congress on Ozone and Ultraviolet Technologies
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Los Angeles, CA
October 13-17, 2007
- Water Environment Federation - WEFTEC 2007
80th Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition & Conference
San Diego, California U.S.A.
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