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The Ozone Factor This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The ozone layer: Quiet. Protective. Soaking up thesun's rays, but now letting too many through. Why? And if there were no ozone,would we be here? Could we really take the deadly rays from the sun? No, ofcourse not. Our bodies were not meant to deal with such a harsh affront, butnonetheless, we are destroying this barrier.

Ever since the age of steampower, we have created things that harm the ozone layer. Every day now,pollutants and CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other harmful substances areemitted from smokestacks around the world. We did not always know the danger thatwould result from these advances. When we found uses for these substances, did wehave the ozone layer in mind? Did we think they would be harmful? No. But now wedo know, and things are being done, though not nearly enough. These harmfulsubstances will be damaging the ozone for years to come because they take yearsand years to float up and hurt the layer.

A single chlorine atom candestroy up to 100,000 ozone molecules. Even if we stopped world production ofozone-harming substances tomorrow, it would take 50-100 years for it to healitself. We know we can't stop world production tomorrow. If we could, we wouldhave already done it. The environment has become a very hot issue in politics inrecent years.

The point is, we are destroying one of the many things thatkeeps us alive. It is irreplaceable, like many things we hold precious. It isalmost like a living being, and just as delicate.

If the ozone layer isdestroyed, it is like a human dying, leaving us for good. Though we would have amemory of the ozone layer, it would not be for long. We must take a stand andshow others that we cannot live (and prosper) without it. If no one tries, thereis no hope. We were given the responsibility of taking care of the Earth, and wemust fulfill that trust for future generations, if war hasn't destroyed us bythen. We are focused on fighting terrorism instead of making our planet safer forfuture generations, which could be just as deadly as any attack.

As Irecognize what I can do, and what I plan to do, I have created an organizationdedicated to the ozone layer, along with a website and a Yahoo! group. Myorganization is called PRO: Protection and the Reparation of the Ozone. I hopethat anyone who wants to help will join. My website is www.ozoneice.org.

I have one final word for the world: the environment will survive,because I know that people will help. They already are. We must continue tohelp!

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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