The Earth's Ozone Layer is Making an Impressive Recovery
Scientists have confirmed a sizable improvement in ozone levels over the past decade. The news is a testament to the world's noble dedication to reducing usage of hazardous chemicals.
If you thought Kate Bush's first concert in over 30 years was impressive, just wait until you see the sort of comeback the ozone layer has in store.
From Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press:
"Earth's protective ozone layer is beginning to recover, largely because of the phase-out since the 1980s of certain chemicals used in refrigerants and aerosol cans, a U.N. scientific panel reported Wednesday in a rare piece of good news about the health of the planet."
While satellite measurements have suggested for a few years that the hole was beginning to recover, scientists for the first time have confirmed "statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone."
"From 2000 to 2013, ozone levels climbed 4 percent in the key mid-northern latitudes at about 30 miles up, said NASA scientist Paul A. Newman. He co-chaired the every-four-years ozone assessment by 300 scientists, released at the United Nations."
It's not everyday that an environmental news story can be considered anything but glum. This news serves as an honorable testament to the power of diplomacy. The global community made a solid commitment during the 1980s to reduce usage of ozone-harming chemicals. We may be seeing the first dividends of that agreement.
That said, the ozone layer is still thinner than it was 40 years ago and that big, bad hole still exists above Antarctica. As one NASA scientist explained to Borenstein, things "are on the upswing, but [they're] not there yet."
For more about this news and about how the ozone layer protects the Earth from harmful radiation, read the whole story at the Associated Press
Photo credits: Top - Andrey Armyagov / Shutterstock; Earth diagrams: NASA
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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