On This Day in History: September 16
The Hole in the Ozone Layer
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I was a teen in the 1980s, and Jesus Sock Wanking Christ the fucking hair. Big, gigantic, poofy hair. Then some science guys said hey your fucking hair is ripping apart the goddamn sky cut that shit out. And we actually did.
--On This Day in History, Shit Went Down: September 16, 1987--
Ozone smells like chocolate cake. Not really, but we have an electric mixer that makes a funny smell when you use it from the motor ionizing oxygen or some shit, and that smell is ozone and it makes me think fuck yeah my wife is making cake. You can’t smell the ozone layer that starts ten miles up though, but holy shit do you need it in your life. And we almost wrecked the damn thing, because without it we’d all get a really bad sunburn. So would our crops, and our lobstered hides would starve to death.
In 1973 a pair of scientists at UC Irvine named Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland said hey your hairspray and deodorant are thinning the ozone layer. How? The sprays contained CFCs, which were a combination of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon atoms. It was developed in the 1930s and they called that shit freon and they said yeah this is totally safe and put it in everything from refrigerators to Styrofoam to aerosol sprays. But what Molina and Rowland discovered was the CFCs were floating up into the sky and getting broken down by UV radiation and the chlorine atom was released and said fuck yeah me and O3 gonna party and I’m gonna wreck its shit.
Then in 1985 some science guys in the Antarctic said holy shit look at the size of that hole. But they weren’t looking down, they were looking up. They discovered a massive hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole, and it created one of the greatest success stories of “holy shit we’re gonna fucking die if we don’t do something about this” climate activism success stories in history.
These days there are fancy charts using complicated mathematical formulae such as “addition” proclaiming global warming is human caused. Those proclamations are supported by 98% of climate scientists, but oil companies are throwing billions of dollars at convincing idiots and money-hungry ass cacti that there’s nothing to worry about. Conversely, we had pictures of the hole. Scientists said hey look at this giant fucking hole. The giant hole is bad. The hole means burning fiery death. And people believed it and we took swift international action.
Called the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty was signed on September 16, 1987 and went into effect on January 1, 1989, phasing out the use of CFCs and other substances shown to be harmful to the ozone layer. As of 2015, 197 countries have ratified the protocol; it is the first universally ratified treaty in the history of the United Nations. And it’s fucking working. The ozone layer is slowly recovering.
Molina and Rowland were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995. Fuck yeah, science.
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