World Ozone Layer Day
When is World Ozone Layer Day?
World Ozone Layer Day is held every September 16th. Also called the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, this holiday also commemorates the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. World Ozone Layer Day has become even more prevalent since the turn of the century, as the latest green movement has sparked public interest and education about the effects of human activities on the ozone layer.
Importance of the Ozone
The ozone layer is just one of the layers within Earth’s atmosphere. It is often considered one of the most important because it absorbs almost all of the medium-frequency ultra violet rays from the sun. This helps to preserve just about all life forms on Earth. First discovered in 1913 by physicists Henri Buisson and Charles Fabry, the ozone layer has since become a major feature of scientific studies on climate change.
The thickness of the ozone can vary depending on the time of year, as there are changes in proximity to the sun. However, modern scientists have discovered that this layer is depleting partially because of human activities, most of which are attributed to carbon emissions from industrialized nations. While the layer itself was discovered a century ago, much of the damage may have already be done. However, some scientists believe that reducing carbon emissions today may still reduce the depletion process.
History of the Holiday
One of the first public actions taken to help preserve the ozone was through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Leaders from 24 countries participated in this event on September 16, 1987. Subsequently, these leaders made promises to reform environmental impacts made by their countries.
The Montreal Protocol was a significant step towards public awareness and action to protect the ozone layer. However, it wasn’t until 1995 that the first International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was celebrated. The United Nations General Assembly chose this date to coincide with the historic Montreal Protocol. This holiday is a global observance on the matter of the ozone.
Education and a call for action are the main forms of World Ozone Layer Day celebrations. Education is particularly important, considering the fact that action is virtually impossible if citizens don’t understand the importance of the ozone layer. Furthermore, the current state of the ozone and the possible consequences of its depletion are also important to understand. The U.N. as well as individual governments take the opportunity of this holiday to further educate people about this problem around the world.
Given the current state of the ozone layer, a call for action is also important. Environmental activists often organize demonstrations on September 16th to increase awareness and promote better actions to help decrease ozone depletion. While much of the damage is already done, decreasing the emission of green gases may still give the world a fighting chance.
The United Nations Environment Programme also enacts annual themes for this holiday. Past examples include “Save Life on Earth,” “Governance and Compliance at Their Best,” and “A Healthy Atmosphere – The Future We Want.” Many educational programs focus on these themes when celebrating World Ozone Layer Day.
There is no official symbol for World Ozone Layer Day. In some cases, the United Nations Environment Programme logo is used. Most often, however, people use symbols of the sun and the earth to represent this holiday. Other more graphic images of environmental destruction may be used to make a point about the importance of the ozone layer.
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