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This is a sponsored article from SustainabilityTracker.com member Clean Up Australia.
Have you ever felt like there’s no point in recycling? Or maybe a friend has told you that one individual’s actions won’t make a difference and you found it hard to muster up an argument against it? It’s understandable. As the world continues to face pressing environmental challenges, it can be difficult sometimes to feel optimistic about the future.
Discover why it is important not to underestimate your power and how by working together and taking action, we can help ensure a better future for ourselves and for the planet.
A new UN-backed report offers hope (and encouragement for that anti-recycling friend). In January of 2023, a panel of UN-endorsed experts released a report that confirms the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is healing. This is largely because of the 1989 Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to phase out almost 100 man-made chemicals referred to as “ozone depleting substances”, or ODS. This recent report confirms the successful phasing out of almost 99% of these chemicals.The experts say that if we stay on track, the ozone layer over the Antarctic will heal within 43 years, and over the rest of the world within only 17 years. These aren’t far-off dates centuries ahead—they are days many of us will see in our lifetimes.
There’s no denying that most climate pollution, like the burning of fossil fuels, mostly comes from big industrial activities. It’s easy to doubt that something as simple as throwing a paper cup in the right bin will make a difference in the grand scheme. And while we might not have much influence over massive international agreements, that doesn’t mean we can’t be inspired by the success of the Montreal Protocol.
It’s a testament to climate hope, if nothing else: solid proof that it isn’t too late, and it’s never been too late. It reminds us that our actions do have an impact on the climate, and that it’s totally in our power to help turn things around. After all, the entire process of o-zone healing, from 1989 to 2066, could easily occur in one person’s lifetime.
In the wake of this new report and the new year, this is a great time to level up, or recommit to, your environmentalism.
One way you can do your part in healing the ozone layer is to research HFCs: ozone-depleting chemicals commonly used in refrigerants. Next time you buy a new fridge or air-conditioner, consider getting one that doesn’t use HFCs. In the meantime, you can routinely check your existing cooling appliances for refrigerant leaks (that includes the air-con in your car!)
Small lifestyle changes go a long way too. You can start walking more, get that bike you’ve been thinking about buying, or make a commitment to reducing your food waste. Could you commit to taking your reusable coffee cup when you leave the house each morning? Or to only buying pre-loved fashion, or renting an outfit for that special occasion? What about taking your empty bottles and cans to a Container Refund Scheme? To remembering your shopping bags when you head to the supermarket? What about buying products made from recycled plastic or refusing to purchase fruit and vegetables pre-wrapped in plastic?
It is important not to underestimate your power! From picking up rubbish on a beach, to making informed purchasing choices, to recycling properly and reducing our food waste – there’s a myriad of ways to improve our environmental impact.
By working together and taking action, we can help ensure a better future for ourselves and for the planet. You can start by signing up for Clean Up Australia Day! It’s on Sunday 5 March, 2023. You can fly solo or team up with friends, your school, your workplace, or any other group. Register your details and you’ll receive a free kit containing gloves, bags and other resources. There are separate packs for individuals, families, community groups and schools (businesses are asked to pay a small fee to cover costs).
Head to our profile to read more about Clean Up Australia Day and Sign Up to do your bit!
By Amy Anshaw-Nye
This is an article from a SustainabilityTracker.com Member. The views and opinions we express here don’t necessarily reflect our organisation.