Lessons From the Fight for the Ozone

In 1985, British scientists were baffled when they discovered that the concentration of Ozone over Antarctica was at an all time low. It is because of this discovery that world over people were made aware of the presence of an ‘Ozone Hole’ and the hazard it posed to living organisms. Surely repairing this damage was not something a single person could accomplish, it required a global movement that demanded change along with individuals who were willing to change their habits.

Within the decade, the offending chemical group chlorofluorocarbons were replaced with ozone friendly chemicals, a move that made the fight to fix the ozone hole the success story it is. This intervention had consumers change their consumption habits which put pressure on corporations to meet their demands. Put simply, when the buying stopped the manufacturers were forced to look out for eco friendly options.

Today the ozone hole is on its way to complete recovery and it is projected that by 2060 to 2080 it shall revert to its pre-chlorofluorocarbon condition (this projection takes into consideration that we humans do not go back to using ozone depleting chemicals).

So what is the lesson from this story for us in 2020?

Today, we face multiple common large problems like the ozone hole. These problems like ocean plastics and poor air quality that have never been seen before and if we consider the recent prolonged monsoon season as a warning sign, climate change has a lot in store for us. So what can we do? What can you and I do to combat these issues? Because together we surely can.

The first thing we need to remember is that we have done this before. We have come together in the past to fight for a better future and surely we can do it again. We need to remember the following lessons we learned from our fight for the ozone layer:

  1. Individual habit change does make a big impact in the long term.

  2. Pushing Multinational Corporates to improve their ecological footprint does makes a difference.

  3. Together we all can make a difference.

A better future is out there, and we can grasp it only if we really want to.So start with the small things, choose to use your cloth bag, choose to use your reusable straw, choose to be a better person than you were yesterday. Afterall, we become what we consistently choose to become, so let us all strive to take a leaf out of the fight for the ozone layer and make the impossible possible.

Anoushka Viegas

Programme Coordinator