There has been some rare good news about the environment recently. One was hard to miss. On Sunday, roughly 300,000 people swelled the streets of midtown Manhattan in the People’s Climate March. It was not just the largest climate protest in history; it was the biggest U.S. political demonstration of any kind in more than a decade.
The movement to combat climate change has had a hard time getting off the ground — at least partly because of the abstract nature of the issue. Before Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and the recent California mega-drought, for most Americans climate change was a theoretical threat in the indeterminate future.
That’s changing, however. Sunday’s protest presented a broad-based coalition. Far from the small number of environmentalists who might have participated just a few years ago, the New York march included 1,572 organizations — faith-based, labor, anti-poverty — health professionals and a large turnout of high school and college students from across the country.
But if you blinked, you might have missed the other environmental good news. The dangerous ozone hole over Antarctica stopped growing, a recent United Nations study found, and shows early signs of repairing itself.
Disaster was averted thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international agreement that banned ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, once widely used in refrigerators and spray cans.