What is the Ozone Hype Anyway?
"The ozone is a pale bluish form of oxygen gas with an odor like chlorine, formed by an electrical discharge in the air" (Webster 185).
The first time that I thought about this research narrative was the first time that I read the syllabus for class. My immediate reaction was that I could not believe that we were actually going to write a tenpage narrative. I was never expected to write a paper of this length before and I was unsure if I were going to be able to do so. However, it turned out that it was not that bad, although I did go through many frustrations along the way.
First, I had to come up with a topic. I think that this was the hardest part. In our class, we used one of our textbooks to help with this part of the process for our papers. In exercise 1.1, Ballenger suggests that you make a list under a number of different topics (23). Therefore, I made a list of at least twenty things under each topic that I thought might be a possible topic for my paper. My list ranged from pets all the way to relationships and back to health problems. However, after talking to my professor and my friends, and taking Ballenger's advice on how to eliminate topics, I decided to go with the ozone layer (25). I had a few different reasons for making this choice. One of them was that this was something that I did not know very much about. In addition, the topic was something that I did want to know more about. Consequently, due to the fact that I did not know much, I would not do my research with a bias and more importantly, I would do the research well because I wanted to know more.
Next, I had to come up with a question that I wanted to know the answer to. Again, Ballenger came with help. In exercise 2.1, Ballenger suggests that you make a list of questions and then have peers add questions also. During this process, I went through so many questions. Why was the ozone layer depleting? What could we do to help? How long has this been going on? What was the start to the depletion? I could have mad a list forever but I had to come up with that one main question that was the most important. I thought that asking why it was happening and what caused it was the most important. By answering this question, I would also be able to answer what we can do to help. I could answer this by knowing what causes the depletion and then in turn, know what not to do. Now, I could start to do my research.
First, I had to go to the library and use these "big red books” that are behind the reference desk. At first, I thought that this was stupid. I wanted to know why I had to find other topics to research that had to do with my research topic. Little to my knowledge at that time, the other topics came in handy during my research. At the time, I did not know that we would have to use a topic that was only related to our topic. I am now thankful that I had done this step of the process, this is where I found the topic that I would use later in the research process.
I went to the library to do the first annotated bibliography and I felt so overwhelmed at what I had to do. I started to look up the ozone layer on the computer using many different databases to find articles that met the requirements listed in our packet. In addition, I looked up the ozone layer and its depletion in the online card catalog for books that are available here at IUP. For both the databases and the card catalog, I went through hundreds of key words. I looked up the ozone layer, depletion of the ozone layer, environment and ozone, CFC's, and many more. I felt as if this step felt as if it was never going to end. I had to look through an endless amount of articles and books to see if they offered me any good information. Luckily, there is an immense amount of information on the ozone layer and I found good facts and statistics that would lead me in the right direction for answering my question. I did all of this work at the library with two of my classmates who were also doing the same thing. It made the entire process easier doing this first annotated bibliography with two friends. It was at this time that I found out how important that the ozone layer is. Miller and Miller say that the ozone that is in our atmosphere is critical to the maintenance of life on earth (55). This made me want to know even more about the ozone layer. If the ozone layer is critical to life, my life, then I wanted to know exactly what was going on. It was also during this time that I found an answer to one on my questions. I wanted to know how the ozone depletion starts and I found that it start by CFC's leaking into the ozone layer (EPA). Some of the CFC's that contribute to ozone depletion come from the exhaust gas of vehicles (Lemonick 63). It was here that I wanted to start to research a different topic. I can not say that I was amazed that car exhaust depleted the ozone, but I can say that I am amazed that with the technology that we have, we still have automobiles that emit these chemicals. I thought that I could research new automobiles that do not give off these bad chemicals, but I changed my mind and decided to stay with my original topic.
After doing the first annotated bibliography, things with the paper began to flow much more easily. I had more and more questions rush into my mind as I read the articles and books that I had chosen to use. I now thought that another very important question was what happens to us, the people, by the depletion of the ozone layer. By the time, that the interview came around was the time that I was the most frustrated. I wanted to interview my Physical Science teacher and my father's boss, Bill Neely. In do time, Neely was able to give me some good facts that he knew about the depletion, but unfortunately my science teacher had a death in his immediate family which caused some extra stress. He was unable to get back to me on the questions that I had asked by the time that I needed. This was the most stressful part of the paper. I did not know what to do about the entire interview. I really wanted to know what my science teacher had to offer me but I was unable to get that information. Mr. Neely is the boss at Economy Heating and Cooling, which is located in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. In this business, the workers are required to deal with a chemical that depletes the ozone. This chemical is Freon. Schneider says that this is the most common CFC that there is and that it can eat up many thousands of times its own weight on ozone (221). HVAC technicians have to collect this chemical very carefully into a container so that none of it escapes in to the environment. This chemical is used in air conditioners and refrigeration units. There was a law passed that concluded that if a HVAC technician was seen letting this chemical out into the atmosphere, they could be subject to a ten thousand dollar fine and also lose their job doing heating and cooling forever. My father has always been very careful when dealing with this substance. The workers at my fathers job have to go to seminars to learn about how to properly deal wit the disposal of this chemical which gets into the stratospheric atmosphere and destroy the ozone that is vital to our life on earth.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to start the second annotated bibliography. For this one, I was not as overwhelmed about the bibliography but I was about the entire paper. The week that this was due, I felt like I had so much to do in every class that I have. I knew that I did not have as much time to do this annotated bibliography as I had to do the first. I went to the library with a friend from class directly after another one of my classes. This time, the only work that I did at the library was getting the two books that I needed. I went to the online card catalog and found where the two books were that I was going to use for this second annotated bibliography. Again, I searched for books with the keyword ozone. The library does offer a significant amount of books to chose from so I really did not have any trouble with this. I took the two new books home with me and I read them in my room where I find it much more comfortable, at least compared to the library. Reading the Miller and Miller book, I found that they said that the ozone absorbs a large percentage of the UV rays that are emitted by the sun. They go on to say that these rays can be harmful to humans, animals, and plants (55). If there is scientific proof that we need the ozone layer to protect us, then why do we continue to do things to destroy it? I took a break from my research until later that night; I looked on Ebsco host for the rest of my sources. I was very glad that I was able to access this from the comfort of my own home. I work much better when there is music in the background and I can relax at my own desk. This time I used a few different keywords. I searched for ozone and depletion again as I did last time but this time also used CFC's and health hazards. I did find that this narrowed my search down and pointed me toward information that could answer a few more of my questions. I was thankful for this. I was able to type up my second annotated bibliography and then I was able to try to rethink my question. At this point in my research paper, as I remember back, I thought that I only wanted to research what the ozone depletion has to deal with our health but then I figured that I would already be answering this question with the question that I was asking before. I decided to stay with the same question.
It was around this point in my research that I became ill. It was very hard for me to stay focused on the paper. I was making trips back to my hometown for doctor's appointments and medication. I felt as if I were never going to finish this paper without some sort of miracle. I knew that I had to just keep my fingers typing on my computer and get this paper done. I ended up having to get an extension on the due date of the paper, which I was very thankful for.
Between the pain in my ear and the frustration that I had, I was off to the library for the third part of the annotated bibliography. This was the easiest part. I think that this was due to the fact that we were only required to have five resources. This would cut down the amount of time that I had to spend on this step of the research and I could work more on writing what I had found so far. Another thing that made a huge difference was the fact that we were to research the bigger picture of our topic. For this, I decided to use the keywords environment and atmosphere. I decided this because the ozone is located in the atmosphere and the entire environment is effected by the ozone depletion. This is the source that you can see at a glance is tangentially related to my research subject. It was during this third annotated bibliography that I also found out that the depletion of the ozone layer could cause serious crop damage in areas where the layer is this (Fahey and Ravishankara 209). This, however, was a turning point for me in my research. After I was reading articles that had to deal with other causes of environmental pollution, I thought that I should broaden my research and add things to my paper. I thought that I could just use the ozone depletion as just one of my topics that would add up to the total destruction of the environment. Then I had the idea that I could just do all of the factors that lead up to the destruction of the environment that only deal with factors that are caused by us, the people that live on the planet that we abuse. In contrast, when I talked this over with my friends from the class, the said that I had already come this far and that I should just stick with one topic for my paper. The more that I thought about it, they were right. If I were to totally change my research this late in the process, I would be so far behind. I decided to stick with the ozone layer and its depletion. I am very thankful for the advice that my peers had given me.
After completing that third annotated bibliography, it was time to put all of the information together and make this paper a good piece of work. I sat at my computer for what felt like days at a time. I would type and then erase. The process seemed like a never-ending cycle that I could not get away from. Every time that I thought that I had come up with a good idea to add to my paper, I would think again and erase it. Then it would hit me that I did want to use that in the paper. I began to become very thankful for the undo option that is offered on the computer. During this step of the process, using the MLA format was the hardest part. It is so easy to just sit at the computer and keep on typing, but when you have to keep looking at a reference book, you can get frustrated. I chose to personally use the in text citation that names the author within the phrase. For all of the help that I needed I turner to Diana Hacker, who listed this way of citing as the first in her list (326).
I took one weekend away from doing the paper which really came in handy. I was able to clear my mind and then new fresh ideas came into perspective. I was with my cousins who are twenty-seven and twenty nine years old. I was telling them about the paper that I had been stressing over for weeks. In turn, the laughed at me and said that I would not have to be writing my paper on the ozone layer if it were not for them. They were of course joking at the fact that they were in their teens during the 1980's, which was the time for big hair. They said that they probably went through a bottle of Aqua Net hair spray in a week. All of that aerosol hair spray was not in the least bit helpful to the environment. They really made me laugh and remember the reason that I wanted to write this paper. When I got back home a returned to my paper, I found the reason that the hair spray that they were using was bad for the environment. Hill and Kolb say that CFC's are pretty much insoluble in water, which is what makes them an ideal propellant for use in aerosol hair sprays. They also said that this is unfortunate because this allows them to persist in the environment (329).
I want people to remember that the environment is all around use and it is where we live. Michael Bland states that there are many ways that we, the people on earth, can prevent the depletion of the ozone (66-68). The reason that it becomes destroyed is because of us and if we can prevent it, then why don't we? I want to call to action that we do not use things that will ruin our ozone layer. I do not think that it is something that never crosses our mind from day to day. Moreover, I think that my generation takes everything for granted. We need to think about the future because in essence, we are the future. I know that I personally want the environment to be better than it is now when my children are growing up. I do not want them to have to have extra worries about their health and about the cancer that they get from the lack of ozone. Gruijl and Leun say that the depletion of the ozone affects people's health (853). I think that there is enough that goes on in our daily lives that affects our health and we do not need an extra worry. Cancer is such a common disease that strikes humans, and it can also be caused by the depletion of the ozone. I know that I do not want to have to worry about being completely shielded from the sun when I am outside, I want to be able to enjoy the rays and not have to worry about cancer.
Now that this paper is done, it was not as bad as I thought that it would be. I did learn a lot that will help me in the papers to come in this class. Not only did I learn about the topic that I researched, I learned a lot about what a research narrative is. I think that this along with learning MLA format will be something that will come in handy time after time in my college career.