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Science

New study shows ozone layer has made 'significant milestone' in its recovery

Environmental progress is possible.

ozone layer, climate change
Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Change is possible.

The negative effects of climate change are all around us—countless devastating heatwaves, droughts so severe in some areas that long lost ancient relics have reappeared, and in other areas, extreme storms destroy entire communities.

With all the visible decline on our planet, improvements might not be so obvious. But they do exist. All we need to do is look up.

Euro News announced on Sept. 19 that the Earth’s ozone layer, nature’s shield against UV radiation from the sun, has made significant progress against prior damage.

This is not only some much-needed relief against an onslaught of bad news for the environment, it also shows us that a better future is possible with concentrated effort.


It’s been 37 years since researcher Jonathan Shanklin first discovered a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica. His findings instigated arguably the biggest environmental movement of the 1980s, leading to the universally ratified Montreal Protocol, which phased out human-made, ozone-depleting chemicals (aka chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, remember those?) previously found in cleaning products, certain appliances and hairspray—just imagine how much hairspray was probably being used during that time to create the signature '80s coif … yikes.

climate change

Think about the environment, dude!

Giphy

Increased UV radiation can lead to more cases of skin cancer, cataracts and impaired immune systems. It is also believed to be contributing to the increase in melanoma, the most fatal of all skin cancers. And it’s worth noting, since 1990, the risk of developing melanoma has more than doubled.

Though the potential danger of CFCs had been discovered as early as the mid-'70s, it would take a giant scare like a big gaping chasm in the sky for folks to really pay attention. But pretty soon it was a full-blown, mass hysteria sensation. One environmentalist even compared it to “AIDS from the sky” back in 1991.

Fast forward to 2022, and a new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the overall concentration of those damaging chemicals has dropped just over 50%, back to levels not seen since before 1980.

global warming

That's visible progress.

research.noaa.gov

Of course, progress doesn’t mean perfection. Antarctica, which still experiences a large hole once a year, has seen a slower pace of reduction. But even still, chemicals have fallen 26%, the report revealed. And until it does close, the hole is being closely monitored using 3D imaging.

The Montreal Protocol has been a success in part because it forced corporations to come up with alternative solutions. Today we have plenty of brands that are environmentally conscious, but that wasn’t always the case. And lo and behold, a huge systemic shift caused a huge positive impact.

We still only have one planet to call our home and it will take a collective effort to protect it, just as it did to damage it. It can be easy to get nihilistic (or at the very least, anxious) when only the destruction is visible. That’s why it's important to acknowledge and celebrate the small victories—it helps us hold onto hope and leads to more inspired action. Because, as we can see, for good or for bad, every action counts.

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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

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MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

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Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

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A letter to my mother-in-law who spoiled my sons

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Tina Platamura


You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything.

Tina Platamura

A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck.

I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn't spoil my children. I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats" by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed.

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Urban planner shares a simple and proven way to cut rents in half

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If we are going to build more housing units, About Here’s founder urban planner Uytae Lee, suggests that the U.S. and Canada focus on building more non-market co-op units.

He lays out his theory in a video entitled “The Non-Market Solution to the Housing Crisis.”

To illustrate his point, he highlights two apartment buildings side by side in the up-and-coming Olympic Village neighborhood in Vancouver, Canada. In one building, the average rent for a 2 bedroom is $4,500. However, in the building across the street, a 2-bedroom unit only costs $1900 a month.

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And that’s why people are applauding one Santa’s perfect display of respect for a little girl named Adley, who gave him a firm “no” after he asked her if she wanted to sit in his lap. Their viral exchange became a simple, but effective lesson in consent.

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