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Posts Tagged ‘ozone’

Intro: This, too, is an older piece written as a writing exercise, but fitting to repost today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle drawn in this morning’s Daily Dose.

“Let There Be Light”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2001

“The bright light is lying down – the earth and the sky and the sea. It is at rest with the ocean – and the days go by. They go into the seas that have no shores – haunted by that same closed door. Looking up at skies on fire, leaving nothing left of us to discover. And the planets of the Universe go their way – not astounded by the sun or the moon or the light of day. You and I will simply disappear, out of sight, but I’m afraid soon there’ll be no light. No doubt no pain come ever again, well, let there be light in this lifetime – in the cool silent moments of the night time.”
~Stevie Nicks: an exert from Planets of the Universe, Trouble in Shangri La~

When I lay down at night to go to sleep, I try not to think of how badly damaged our earth is. I try not to think about all the “heavy” subjects like politics, religion, education, sex, relationships, chemicals, war, drugs, violence, greed, murder, rape, betrayal and bigotry. I try, instead, to think of something positive, like walking barefoot through a meadow towards a waterfall, in which all my worries and fears will be washed away with the currents. While I’m sleeping, I try not to dream of reality’s responsibilities – bills, errands, parenting, laundry, groceries and appointments. Instead, I try to dream peaceful things in pastels, like fanciful tall tales of being a princess in a palace of peace. But, then I open my eyes in the morning to a crumbling world with sleeping adults and waking children who have questions that no one can answer.

During my days, I do what I am able – I try to live my life by good moral standards. I try to be an understanding person, compassionate, dedicated and true. I use the resources available to me to make a difference in the condition of our world. Through my writing, I express my ideas and concepts on how we can reverse the damage done to this earth and restore balance before we self-destruct.

We worry about the style of our clothes and hair. We worry about our careers and social status. We worry about our bank accounts and retirement. We worry about disease and we worry about political conflict – yet, as a whole, we live each day in complete denial of the truth. We use our aerosol cans and we eat the animals, we pollute the waters and we destroy the ozone layer. We pour toxic waste into the ground and we shoot up our meat products with chemical growth stimulants. We hunt for sport. We walk with shut eyes past the homeless, hungry and abused. We have lost respect for ourselves. We have become comfortable with self-indulgent behaviors. Yet, we wonder why we’re not happy. We wonder what we’re missing. We wonder why we feel like life is closing in on us.

Through reading a special book (Ishmael by Daniel Quinn), I have learned that one of the problems with humanity is that we feel like the earth was put here for us, we assume that earth was made for man – and since we feel as though it belongs to us, we feel like we can treat it any way we wish. My only question is, why did we choose this way?

I’m afraid.

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Intro: This was originally written in 2001 for RITRO.com, a volunteer Web community based on Real Insight Through Raw Opinion. I’m pulling it from my archives today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle I drew this morning in today’s Daily Dose.

“Environmental Health: Our Ozone”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2001

In a daydream, I picture myself laying on my back in a green meadow, gazing off into the infinite blue that stretches across the sky. Looking at little white puffs floating by, I imagine all those things imaginable when looking at the clouds. I look beyond the clouds thinking about flight, freedom, fresh air. Beyond that, I think about the heavens – the stars, the gravity-absent blackness that surrounds us far past where our sun shines. I think about the protective barrier around our planet, the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Fearful, I think about the destruction being done to that protective barrier. Uncertain, I question the severity of the claims of a hole in the ozone layer, wondering what the effects of such a hole might be. I reflect on my own behaviors to see if I’m contributing to the damage.

According to an article called Under The Ozone Shield, found at Ozone and UV Radiation Research, “Ozone is a molecule in the Earth’s atmosphere. As much as 90 % of ozone lies at heights of 10-50 km above the Earth’s surface. An ozone molecule consists of three oxygen atoms. Despite the fact that ozone forms only a small fraction of all the constituents of the atmosphere, it is still an important factor for the continuity of life on planet Earth.”

By visiting Beyond Discovery and viewing the article called, All About Ozone, one can read, “Ozone is a relatively simple molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms bound together. Yet it has dramatically different effects depending upon its location. Near Earth’s surface, where ozone comes into direct contact with life forms, it primarily displays a destructive side. Because it reacts strongly with other molecules, large concentrations of ozone near the ground prove toxic to living things. At higher altitudes, where 90 percent of our planet’s ozone resides, it does a remarkable job of absorbing ultraviolet radiation. In the absence of this gaseous shield in the stratosphere, the harmful radiation has a perfect portal through which to strike Earth.”

Without the protection of our ozone layer, 95-99% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation would strike the earth. This biologically disturbing, high-energy radiation is said to cause skin cancer, impairment of the eyes, damage to the immune system, and upset the fragile balance of an entire ecosystem.

Researchers now know that chlorine creates the hole in the ozone layer by destroying ozone molecules. The source of the chlorine: human made chemicals called chloroflurocarbons (CFC’s) that have been used in spray cans, foam packaging and refrigeration materials.

Refrigeration materials are partially responsible for global warming? Figure that out!

According to this Ozone Index at Environmental Database for use in Schools, “chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were invented in the 1920s. They are a compound of carbon containing chlorine and fluorine. CFCs are man made chemicals, so we call them synthetic chemicals. Since their introduction CFCs have been used as refrigerants in refrigerators and air conditioning units, propellants in aerosol cans, foaming agents in the production of packaging, cleaners used in the electronics industry, and fire extinguisher chemicals.

CFCs are well suited to all these applications as they are non-flammable, non-toxic, have high chemical stability and the chemicals properties are well suited to the applications given above. CFCs are also relatively cheap chemicals compared to some alternatives which is always a good reason why a particular chemical is popular in industry.”

Developed during a search for a new, nontoxic substance that could serve as a refrigerant, these substances or chemicals all fit the bill. However, CFC’s are carried by wind currents 10-30 miles up to the stratospheric ozone layer. Ultraviolet rays then break down the CFC’s, releasing the chlorine atoms to dissolve the ozone, remaining active for more than a hundred years.

In September 1987, 24 nations, including Canada, pledged to reduce the use of CFCs by 50 percent by 1999, and to freeze the use of halons by 1992 at their 1986 levels. This agreement, the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, was the first of its kind and set a global precedent. Since then, the Montreal Protocol has been ratified by over 70 countries. The Protocol now calls for the total elimination of ODCs by the year 2005, according to an article titled, It’s Your Health.

Knowing that changes are being made on the large scale, we still need to ask ourselves what we as individuals can do to make a difference. Without the ozone layer, we will not survive. Each of us must do our part to preserve the planet we inhabit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides useful tips on what you can do to make a difference in the struggle to save the ozone layer.

Fact: If all ozone-depleting chemicals were eliminated, the ozone layer would, in time, heal itself.

In a daydream, I picture myself laying on my back in a green meadow, gazing off into the infinite blue that stretches across the sky. Fearful, I think about the destruction being done to that protective barrier. I begin to reflect on my own behaviors to see if I’m contributing to the damage.

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