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UN Study Says Ozone Layer Showing First Signs of Recovery

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According to a report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the ozone layer is on the track to recovery. The estimation results show that it has to do with political determination to phase out the production and use of ozone-depleting chemicals.

The ozone layer protects our planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun. Since 1985, when scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, there has been much effort to prevent its further decline by phasing out the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, which were widely used in different products, such as refrigerators and aerosols. In 1987, almost 200 countries ratified the Montreal Protocol, which banned the use of these substances.

According to UNEP scientists, the concentration of these substances in the atmosphere could have increased tenfold by 2050, if the Montreal Protocol had not been put into effect. At the same time, along with the protection of wildlife and agriculture, the protocol is estimated to have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer by 2030.

There are positive indications that the ozone layer is on track to recovery towards the middle of the century,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “The Montreal Protocol — one of the world’s most successful environmental treaties — has protected the stratospheric ozone layer and avoided enhanced UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

However, it cannot be said for sure if the ozone hole will completely recover by itself, since the ozone-depleting substances can remain in the atmosphere for years. Moreover, there still are other persistent environmental issues that contribute to global warming and climate change. In particular, WMO recently said that the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had reached a record high.

The problem is that some chemicals that have replaced ozone-depleting substances are still potent greenhouse gases. New environment-friendly substitutes need to be found, and further actions need to be taken to stop the global warming and help recover the ozone layer to its 1980s condition. See Below:

ozoneee

As WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said, “International action on the ozone layer is a major environmental success story. This should encourage us to display the same level of urgency and unity to tackle the even greater challenge of climate change.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna LeMind is the owner and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com, and a staff writer for The Mind Unleashed.

Featured image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “2009 Antarctic Ozone Hole,” Via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Research links:

http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2796&ArticleID=10978&l=en

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Protocol

https://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_1002_en.html

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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