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Digging a Deeper Hole

It's been almost twenty years since the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, yet the recovery is not as expected the seasonal hole in the Arctic's ozone layer has never been bigger, and it's not just due to the use of man-made chemicals.

Most of the world has been doing a steady job of eliminating ozone-destroying chemicals. In Canada, for instance, consumption of CFCs and halons had decreased 95 percent by 1996. A number of other chemicals have been added to the list of controlled substances over the years. Most of the industrialized countries have been quick to comply with this expansion of the list of chemicals to be phased out, although the United States continues to apply for exemptions that will allow it to go on using methyl bromide.

However, the main culprit in this case appears to be climate change. Increasingly intense cold over the Arctic leads to the formation of polar stratospheric clouds. These clouds and the accompanying cold actually hasten the destruction of ozone despite our efforts to reduce chemical use.

Robert Causley

Fall Into Composting

Composting keeps leaves and grass clippings out of landfills and creates organic material that is great for gardens and houseplants.

Start a compost pile in the fall and take advantage of carbon, found in brown organics such as leaves and sawdust, and nitrogen, found in greens such as grass clippings and vegetable scraps. Get a compost container available from your municipality or hardware store add air, moisture, and time, and by spring you will be mining black gold.

Environment Canada estimates that 40 to 50 percent of present municipal waste can be
composted. Composting at home not only reduces waste collection costs, but also replaces chemical fertilizers with natural plant food that improves soil fertility and moisture retention. For better air, water, and soil, get composting.

Christine Rowlands

Net Benefits

Fish is good for us that's a fact. Unfortunately, another fact is that we're not good for fish. In 2003 about half of the world's fish stocks were close to their maximum sustainable limits of exploitation. A further one-quarter of fish stocks were overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.

One way that retailers can help consumers who are concerned about the world's fish stocks is to use the certification scheme for wild caught marine fish developed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) based in London, UK. Their logo on fish products is a credible assurance that the fish is derived from a sustainable fishery. As of 2005, 11 companies across Canada are certified by the MSC.

Julian Worker

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