In August 1987, delegates from thirty nations converged in Montreal, Canada. One by one, they arrived at the Headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
This layer, which in layman’s terms is commonly referred to as ‘Earths Natural sunscreen’, without which earth would be a living hell, is primarily responsible for shielding humans and various natural ecosystems from harmful Ultra Violet Rays (UV) from the sun.
After various negotiations, the thirty nations reached a consensus that was supported by a landmark treaty which came to be known as the Montreal Protocol (MP) of 1987. This document was later adopted and ratified by a hundred and fifty other counties including Kenya two years later, on September 16th, 1989.
In it, each of the signatory-countries affirmed that they were going to do their part to effectively Phase-out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), elements used mostly in refrigeration, air conditioners and as propellants in products such as hairsprays, spray paints and even deodorants.
Scientist paying close attention to the Ozone Layer had come to a proven conclusion that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) being released into the atmosphere were among the ingredients directly responsible for the depletion of the Ozone layer, putting humans and ecosystems at risk from cancer-causing Ultra Violet rays from the sun.
The Montreal protocol now meant that humanity had the best chance of averting the collapse of one of earth’s most vital natural resource. If this continued destruction wasn’t stopped , human beings faced the risk of skin cancer, eye cataract, weakened immune systems, overall negative interference on our DNA and the already adverse effects of climate change which would eventually lead to severe global warming.
The Montreal protocol became perhaps the most single successful and by far one of the most effective international agreements on climate change.
It was also the one the first treaties of its kind where independent experts on climate change reported directly to global decision-makers without edit or censorship.
Today, despite subtle but obvious objections from powerful individuals such as US President Donald Trump who insists that climate change is a hoax invented by China to gain economic leverage over America, the conversation about climate change has been making headway all over the world more than ever, more so in developing economies of Africa.
The UN and various other global bodies have since then put together tens of other agreements that almost mirror the contents of the Montreal protocol. Most recently, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol urging member governments and influential corporations to do more to reverse the effects of climate change and cooperation in salvaging was has been left.
The destruction of the Amazon forest In Brazil by raging forest fires has also fanned the climate-change conversations, leading to inter-governmental efforts to implement rafts of measures seeking to address this vice.
Some of these measures include, increasing forest covers, promotion of green energy systems and reducing over reliance on fossil fuels among others.
But governments are not doing it alone, In Kenya for example, corporations such as Equity bank of Kenya and Telco giant Safaricom are at the forefront of keeping our atmosphere clean and healthy and tackling environmental problems through adherence and implementation of the United Nations, Sustainable development Goals (SDG’s) on climate change.
Safaricom on its part announced an ambitious project in partnership with the Kenya forest service to plant five million trees in the next five years to create sustainable forest cover across the country.
Equity Bank also notes that one sustainable way of managing climate change is through the use of renewable sources. To date, the bank has supported over 77,117 households with an estimated 300,000 individuals who have benefited from clean energy products such as solar lighting solutions and clean cookstoves.
Available on its Equitel mobile platform, the lender has also created the world’s first energy loan dubbed Ecomoto loan, to avail affordable financing for ordinary Kenyans to purchase clean energy technologies that directly impacts people’s health, incomes and the environment.
Further, the bank is also involved in an annual tree planting exercise whereby all its 179 branches partner with NEMA, and KFS as well as local schools and churches to plant as many trees as possible. To date, Equity has planted over one million trees.
Trees are vital as they naturally absorb much of the planets C02, which harbors harmful UV rays from the sun. These harmful UV rays have made their way through, you guessed it, due to increased depletion of the Ozone Layer. Such an occurrence, therefore, signals a looming environmental disaster for us incumbents and for future generations.
Yesterday, Monday September 16th, the international day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer, marked thirty two years since the Montreal treaty came into effect. Signatories of the Montreal Protocol must now continue to mobilize their masses as more and more action is still needed if we are to stabilize our weather systems.