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Whatever happened to the hole in the ozone layer? - Stephanie Honchell Smith


3,203 Questions Answered

Earth School

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In the 1980s, the world faced a huge problem: there was a rapidly expanding hole in the ozone layer. If it continued to grow, rates of skin cancer could skyrocket, photosynthesis would be impaired, agricultural production would plummet, and entire ecosystems would collapse. So, what happened? Stephanie Honchell Smith shares how decisive global cooperation helped restore the ozone layer.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Watch the PBS documentary, Ozone Hole: How We Saved the Planet, to learn the story of the hole in the ozone layer — and how the world came together to fix it. The scientists and politicians who persuaded Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to take action reveal how the planetary problem was solved. Listen to the story about The Montreal Protocol narrated by David Attenborough. It's one of the clearest examples of multilateral solution-based thinking and the best model we have to tackle global problems like climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

For other examples of taking decisive action to solve an environmental problem, take a look at how scientists in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest transformed the major threat of acid rain into a minor issue. Or, let's talk about the Netherlands. After a brutal storm surge killed nearly 2,000 people, the Dutch government created Delta Works, the most sophisticated flood prevention system in the world. Find out how it keeps the Netherlands above water, with this video.

Now more than ever, we need to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis and turn these ideas into action.

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We can save the world. Speed and Scale shows us how to unlock a cleaner, healthier and safer future by laying out a roadmap that will get us to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. How’s it going to work? We need to electrify transportation, decarbonize the grid, fix food, protect nature, clean up industry and remove carbon. To learn how we’re going to do all that - and to learn how you can take action now - explore this page.

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  • Video created by TED-Ed
  • Lesson Plan created by TED Ed

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