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Recent History Says We Can Do This

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Remember the Montreal Protocol? In 1987, nations around the world agreed to ban chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It had been discovered that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer in the earth’s stratosphere. The ozone, as we know, protects the planet below from ultraviolet radiation.

To the general public, banning CFCs meant giving up spray cans. Back then it seemed everything came in a spray can. The campaign to get people to stop using aerosol spray must have been massive. At the time I wasn’t mature enough to pay attention to the news, but the public relations effort reached even my limited world exposure. I remember wondering what my sisters would do without their hair spray. What kind of deodorant would I be able to use?

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The experts say the ban worked, and some 30 years later, the ozone continues to improve. I‘m recounting the ozone saga because we have another crisis that needs to be overcome: plastic.

I was glad to see that our current recycling woes are being put into layman’s terms and broadcast to a huge audience. This following piece was the cover story from a recent CBS Sunday Morning show and outlines the beginnings of plastic, manufacturing plastic products, recycling issues, China Sword, and even a hopeful future for plastic. The more that people are informed, the easier it will be to make necessary changes.

This is the kind of exposure plastic recycling issues warrant. And the dangers need to be repeated over and over until behaviors change to become the current zeitgeist. Just like it did when society deemed the use of aerosol sprays would only be done by a person with no conscience. This is a start but I’m afraid we’re going to need a lot more help for at least the next couple of decades.

Video Bonus:

Here’s more from NASA on the state of the ozone layer!


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  1. Be careful what is requested and how it is implemented. Some of the early replacements for propellant and freon did more damage than the originals. Over time it has improved, but not initially.

  2. It is amazing what we can do with enough will and attention. Yes, we don’t know everything – and we’re really bad at predicting consequences. But sometimes just stopping what we are currently doing is enough. I think this is one of those times. Thanks for the hopeful reminder!

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