Target: Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator
Goal: Offer an incentive to anyone who can design technologies to repair, rebuild, or replenish the planet’s ozone layer
Our planet is in a growing state of crisis. The use of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, for over half a century has begun to deplete our ozone layer. This layer is made up of a belt of ozone gas that hangs in the Earth’s stratosphere, somewhere between 9.3 and 18.6 miles above the surface of the Earth. It serves as a kind of blanket that protects us from excessive ultraviolet radiation exposure. But large amounts of CFCs, along with other chemicals such as bromine and chlorine, are quickly unraveling this blanket.
This isn’t as easily noticed in normally temperate areas. Most latitudes only experience a thinning of 5-10%, depending on the season. The Antarctic, however, experiences a drastic thinning of the ozone layer during its spring season: up to 66% in its worst years. This ‘hole’ has even reached the southern parts of South America, Australia and New Zealand. This exposes everything within that environment to extremely high levels of UVB radiation.
UVB radiation is known to cause a variety of health problems in humans and animals, including non-cancerous melanoma and malignant melanomas. Just a 10% increase in UVB radiation exposure causes a 19% increase in melanoma for male patients, and a 16% increase for female patients. It has also been known to cause cataracts.
This is a problem that faces our entire planet, one that is not restricted by politics or borders. And while our ozone fades away, the greatest minds of our time are working on making the next new cell phone. Why? Because that’s where the money is – that’s how they can make a living. We need to convince the EPA to give these amazing scientists an incentive: to offer prizes, monetary or otherwise, to anyone who can design technology capable of repairing, replenishing, or rebuilding the ozone layer. These amazing men and women, when properly motivated, can work miracles. Shouldn’t all of that wonderful brainpower be applied to something as vital as repairing the ozone layer?
Dear Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator,
In your position, you are no doubt aware of the depletion of the ozone layer, and of the enormous risk to humanity that it represents. In light of other issues, such as deforestation and climate change, it has fallen to the wayside but holes in the ozone layer are an issue that we cannot afford to forget. You must bring ozone depletion back into the public eye, and, more importantly, to the attention of some of the great minds of our time.
We ask that you set up a program to offer prizes, scholarships, or other incentives to anyone who can design technologies to repair, rebuild, or replenish the ozone layer. It is essential to our continued health, and to the health and happiness of generations to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NASA