The topic of gradual global warming has been the subject of heated debate in Europe for years. In the near future, rivers will dry up, glaciers will melt completely and many animal species will be threatened with extinction. But what does that have to do with me?
The question of - Why should I do anything? – is entitled. This is exactly why you should read on.
This article is about the slow depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer is formed from atmospheric oxygen in the lower stratosphere. Its molecules are split by the sun's UV-C light and immediately combine with oxygen (O2 to O3). Ozone absorbs the high-energy UV-C (100%) and UV-B (95%) light before it can penetrate the earth's atmosphere. The ozone layer forms a protective coat around the earth and regulates the basic temperature. It reflects infrared radiation from the earth and absorbs solar radiation. The earth does not overheat and does not cool down too much. The ozone layer begins at an altitude of between 15 and 25 km above the earth and is around 50 km thick. It is thinning out more over some regions of the world than in other regions. It is now so "thin" above the North Pole that experts speak of an ozone hole. Within this thin layer, the "dangerous" UVB light is hardly filtered out of the atmosphere and can thus hit the earth's surface unhindered (almost 100%).
In short: ozone is a trace gas that surrounds the earth like a belt. It protects all living things and plants from too much UV-C and UV-B radiation and ensures a moderate temperature on earth.
Climate change causes the ozone layer to become ever thinner. Exhaust gases and other greenhouse gases weaken the ozone layer on a daily basis. As a result, more and more solar radiation reaches the earth's surface unfiltered.
UV A, B and C, what's the difference?
Solar radiation consists of visible light (380-780 nm), infrared light (heat/ 780 nm-1 mm) and ultraviolet light (high-energy/ 100-380 nm) and other particles (particle radiation).
UV radiation is neither visible to humans nor perceptible to other senses:
- UV-A radiation has a wavelength range between 400 - 315nm (long wave)
- UV-B radiation has a wavelength range between 315 - 280nm
- UV-C radiation has a wavelength range between 280 - 100nm (shortwave)
Normally, the short-wave UVC radiation is completely filtered out by the upper layer of the earth's atmosphere, so that this radiation no longer reaches the earth's surface. Depending on the thickness of the ozone layer, UVB radiation is reliably shielded up to 95%. The long-wave UVA radiation hits the earth's surface largely unhindered. The intensity of solar radiation varies depending on the time of day and year. Each of these three species has a different effect on flora and fauna due to the energy charge of UV radiation.
Effects on the human body:
The long-wave UVA light penetrates much deeper into the skin layers than the UVC light. UVA light is therefore richer in energy and can penetrate the skin down to the subcutaneous fatty tissue, where it leads to faster skin aging (elastic skin fibers decrease). The skin "wrinkles". The effects of UVA light are not felt immediately. UVA is currently much more suspected of causing skin cancer than UVB radiation.
UVB light has shorter wavelengths and does not penetrate as deeply into the skin layers. If exposed too much, it immediately damages the skin and triggers the unwelcome "sunburn". Pigmentations in the skin (moles, type-related darker skin) are better protected from this radiation in these areas. Very light skin types get sunburned very quickly. The clouds also act as natural sun protection, for example.
When buying a sunscreen, look for protection against both UVA and UVB (UVA is circled on the label).
The skin does not forget. Many sunburns exponentially increase the likelihood of irreversible sun damage. The risk of skin cancer is increased and the skin ages much faster. Pale/white skin cancer is often found on sun-exposed areas such as the face, forehead and lower lip and is directly related to the intensity and duration of sun exposure.
If the ozone layer continues to decrease, every millimeter will result in an increase in temperature and radiation. The direct effects on people are already clearly noticeable today. According to n-tv, between 2010 and 2015 there was a 17% increase in skin cancer patients. In the meantime, effects on the animal and plant world are also visible. There are always major droughts, even In Germany, many forests are threatened by forest fires all year round. Behind this danger is a dried up and emaciated forest that has hardly any water reservoirs left for itself and the animals living there. There are countless small streams that have dried up for many years. On the other hand, the melting of the ice sheets in Greenland, the Arctic, and Antarctica is causing sea levels to rise. This in turn threatens to sink coastal regions into the sea. The list of effects can fill many pages and would go beyond this scope.
What can I do?
Even small changes have a big effect on the crowd. For example, if 1,000 people cycle to work or walk short distances, they save more than 500l of petrol over an estimated 5km route (calculated around 10l of petrol consumption over 100km). If every 5th inhabitant in a medium-sized city with 100,000 inhabitants takes a cloth bag to go shopping, 20,000 plastic bags are saved.
Try to create awareness of your environment with small changes.
We want to give the world to our children, for which reason we should treat them as we would like to be treated. Even the professional disposal of waste is a step towards a sustainable future.
A small overview of our company:
We want to create cycles. What we start on a small scale should eventually be felt as a big movement. Our bracelets should return to our hands after their "life" with you. We use them to create new bracelets or recycle the rest. Afterwards, others can enjoy beautiful newly designed "luxury" items. Every purchase should have a direct effect, which is why our profits go back into the cycle and protect German forests, help us to implement new ideas and serve the "still" experiment to create a closed cycle.