Every year on 16 September, the world celebrates that the ozone layer still exists. This catchy song explains why!
The animation shows phytoplankton celebrating the ozone layer’s healing. The song, commissioned by the UN’s environment programme (UNEP) in 2015, explains that harmful solar rays don’t just affect humans, but also the microalgae in our oceans.
Too much ultraviolet (UV) light bleaches and damages the DNA of the microscopic marine plants. This is bad news, because phytoplankton form crucial components of the ecosystems that underpin oceans, seas and freshwater basins.
The plankton have been having a hard time because of the deterioration of the ozone layer, which normally shields us from too much UV light. But the microscopic beings are now are on the mend and “delightful fighting-fit, floating phytoplankton,” according to the video.
The animation comes with an education pack which contains the lyrics and further explanations, great for teaching little ones about the ozone layer!
— Noelle Eckley Selin (@NoelleSelin) September 16, 2015
What’s The Ozone Layer Again?
The ozone layer is a fragile but crucial shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful portion of our sun’s radiation. This layer helps preserve life on our planet by letting in just the right amount of ultraviolet light and by blocking out the ones we don’t want.
Because humans started using harmful substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) – you used to find them in fridges and deodorant sprays – the ozone layer started deteriorating over the Antarctic.
Too much UV light can increase the risk of sunburn, skin cancer, eye problems in humans, and can also hurt wildlife and damage plants.
The good news is that things are looking up for the ozone layer. The phaseout of ozone-depleting substances – as agreed under the Montreal Protocol, more than twenty years ago – has not only helped to protect us from UV radiation, it has also contributed to fighting climate change.
In fact, the ozone-saving protocol may soon be expanded to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This gas doesn’t only hurt the ozone layer, but is also a particularly powerful greenhouse gas.
The hole in the ozone layer and climate change have a lot in common, especially when it comes to the solution: international collaboration.
Back in the late 1980s, countries around the world joined forces to fix a huge hole that was forming in the layer – a problem that had first been observed about a decade earlier.
Much like the world is coming together now to beat climate change, countries collaborated on a solution. Back then, 197 countries adopted the Montreal Protocol to phase out the gases that had created the dangerous gap.
In a video recorded for this year’s Ozone Day, UN environment boss Erik Solheim points to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, urging for it to be approached just like the Montreal Protocol. “We need to implement it, we need to walk the talk,” he said.
Scientists predict the ozone layer will return back to normal between 2050 and 2070.
UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim's Ozone Day 2016 Message https://t.co/ktWGIenhNz
— Iyad Abumoghli (@iyadabumoghli) September 12, 2016
Do you want to learn more about climate change and the opportunities of the low carbon economy? Find out how Climate-KIC could help you.