The Falling Sky

2022 Words9 Pages
I gave this paper quit a bit of thought; I was sitting in a meeting on some air problems here at General Motors and started doing some investigation. Life on this planet Earth is the product of a delicate balancing act provided by nature. Mankind’s very existence is totally dependent on this fragile ecosystem’s ability to maintain itself. A valuable player in the balance of the environment, the ozone layer, is facing a very serious threat to man. Chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) are chemicals agents commonly found in refrigerants, aerosol sprays, and in the manufacturing of Styrofoam and industrial solvents. With the rate of more than a half-million tons CFCs being spewed into the atmosphere yearly, the rate of ozone depletion is rising at an alarming rate. If a global effort is not made to end the unnecessary use of CFCs, the inhabitants of this plant face an extremely difficult and frightening future. CFCs were invented in Dayton, Ohio; in 1928.They were the product of an intensive search by engineers with the G.M. Research Corporation to find a safe non-toxic, non-flammable refrigant. Frigidaire patented the formula CFCs in 1928 and the “new wonder gas” was called Freon. Seth Cargin and Phillip Dray, co-authors of Between Earth and Sky, informs us in their story of CFCs that “Freon soon topped the list of wonders, a ‘miracle’ refrigerant …[with the] combination of safety, cleanliness, and efficiency…”(66) Not only was the apparently “safe” gas being used in refrigeration, but with the innovation of air-conditioning by Willis Carrier prior to World War I, Freon would one day be used to cool our homes, automobiles, and businesses. Other applications for CFCs soon followed. Out of the need to eliminate malaria-carrying mosquitoes during the First World War, Freon 12 was found to be an excellent propellant to distribute insecticide—thus the birth of the aerosol spray can. “From eight aerosol-related companies in the late forties, the industry grew to more than one hundred just a few years later” (Cagin and Dray 87). CFCs were soon making the lives of millions of Americans much more comfortable. They were also making the Kinetic Chemical Company, a joint corporation of General Motors and Dupont who manufactured and marketed Freon, extremely wealthy. But in August of 1985, the entire world was informed by a group of scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center that the sky was literally falling. A NASA satellite photo revealed that a portion of the ozone layer the size of the continental United States had disappeared from the atmosphere above Antarctica.
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