In the current climate, good news is sparse. So excuse us if when we hear some, we grab it with both hands! We’re talking about the ‘International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer’… catchy, right?
While the name might not roll off the tongue, this day is absolutely vital in reminding us of the amazing positive changes that we can make when individuals, businesses and governments work together towards a common goal.
So who remembers the ozone layer? This might feel like a blast from the past but to this day it’s hailed as a case study for one of the most effective environmental protection victories in recent history.
The Ozone layer gained major hype in the 1970s/80s and this looming hole over the earth led to global media, worldwide sensation and generated fear all over the world. In 1974, a group of scientists released a paper showing that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in spray bottles was destroying atmospheric ozone and the world sat up and listened. This not only earned them a Nobel Prize, but it drew attention to this invisible layer surrounding Earth and the drastic need to protect it.
From fridges to hairspray, nothing was safe from the Montreal Protocol, which was put in place in 1987 by the United Nations, to limit the amount of ozone-depleting gases reaching the stratosphere. Signed by 197 countries, this has since been updated over the years to include more harmful substances and is considered one of the most successful protocols to tackle an environmental challenge caused by humans.
This fear about ozone depletion mobilized nations and just goes to show that big changes can be made.
For over 30 years, we have witnessed remarkable cooperation between nations to take a stand, and through the Montreal Protocol, 99% of ozone-depleting gasses have been phased out from use. This incredible achievement means that by 2060, we could see a complete healing of the ozone Layer. Hooray!
Not only is this awesome news for the earth’s temperature control, and for protecting us from harmful radiation, but it can be used as a blueprint for how real, meaningful change can happen.
The protocol was structured in a realistic way. It set an achievable roadmap for the phasing out of the harmful gasses, from production to consumption, and was used as a foundation where action was layered upon. Members met each year, communicated properly and worked together to agree on a tangible set of actions.
So, what does this mean for us, now?
We are at a crossroads for the future of our planet. Without a robust action plan there will undoubtedly be unthinkable consequences for huge swathes of the world’s population. The Montreal Protocol, whilst smaller in scope, provides a tried and tested approach and shows that through collective action we’re able to confront and tackle climate breakdown, the most pressing issue of our time.
In order to bring the right people to the table and ensure successful action we need effective communication. We need to tell the stories which capture hearts and minds, which show the challenges and the solutions and which inspire people to act.
The science is clear. Now is the time for great communication.