We Saved The Ozone. Here’s How We Can Save Everything Else

A little good news in the midst of a rough week.

Image via NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, a 1989 treaty and global effort to eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), we’ve successfully repaired the Earth’s ozone. This legislative win, according to a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters, had the happy side effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and blunting some of the effects of climate change overall.

As climate policy manager and economist Rachel Cleetus told Gizmodo, “This is something that’s been talked about for a while, this dual benefit of the Montreal Protocol limiting damage to the ozone layer, also curtailing climate change. It’s because all these ozone depleting substances are also very potent global warming gases.”

In the ’80s, climate scientists realized CFCs and HCFCs – heat-catching chemicals most commonly used as refrigerator coolants – were tearing holes in our planet’s atmosphere. The Montreal Protocol drew upon this evidence to enact laws that would have global repercussions, but it wasn’t until this latest study the rest of us learned about the benefits the United States has since incurred.

Head researcher and study writer Lei Hu used the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s atmospheric monitoring network to determine that eliminating these pollutants had the same effect as cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 170 million tons each year from 2008 to 2014. Hu and her team further estimated that maintaining the Montreal Protocol could help the U.S. cut an additional 500 million tons of CO2 by 2025 – that’s about a quarter of the emissions we need to cut in order to fulfill the Paris climate agreement, Gizmodo reports.

Which is all to say global legislative efforts do make a significant impact when it comes to battling climate change. Obviously, we should be engaging in more of these efforts — not less, as the Trump administration intends to do. Pulling out of the Paris agreement, undermining the EPA, obfuscating climate data, cozying up to Big Oil moguls, and rolling back regulations is not how you go about addressing the world’s most pressing problem. Still, there’s plenty of reason to believe we can move forward with or without the fringe group of climate change deniers. By getting more politically engaged, scientists can influence policy for the betterment of us all. Local politicians can uphold their support of the Paris accord. And as individuals, we can all do our part by spreading facts, not fear. Emboldened by the evidence that cooperative agreements actually work, we can only move forward.

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott are getting company. Statues of the famous men are scattered across Central Park in New York City, along with 19 others. But they'll finally be joined by a few women.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth are the subjects of a new statue that will be on display along The Mall, a walkway that runs through the park from 66th to 72nd street. It will be dedicated in August of next year, which is fittingly the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Currently, just 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to women. Out of 150 statues of historical figures across the city, only five statues are of historical women, including Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.

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Historically, we have waited until something is near the complete point of collapse, then fought and clawed to bring the species numbers back up. But oftentimes we wait so long that it's too late. Creatures vanish from the Earth altogether. They go extinct. And even though I don't think for a single second that we should downplay the severity of extinction, if we can flip this on its head and show that every once in a while a species we have given up on is actually still out there, hanging on by a thread against all odds, that is a story that deserves to be told. A tragic story of loss becomes one about an animal that deserves a shot at preservation and a message of hope the world deserves to hear.

As a wildlife biologist and tracker who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of animals I believe have been wrongfully deemed extinct, I spend most of my time in super remote corners of the Earth, hoping to find some shred of evidence that these incredible creatures are still out there. And to be frank, I'm pretty damn good at it!

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The Planet

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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