13 devastating photos to show your friend who doesn't believe in climate change.

Human activity is affecting our planet. Big time.

Don't take my word for it, though — take the 97% of climate scientists' who believe climate change is not, um, voodoo, but, in fact, a real thing largely caused by us.

Although science says climate change is certainly happening, however, Americans are a bit less sure. In a Gallup poll published back in March, only slightly over half the country believes the effects of global warming are occurring.


That ... isn't good. Because, as Dana Nuccitelli wrote for The Guardian, when people are less certain of climate change, they're, of course, less inclined to fight it.

"Research has shown that perception of consensus is linked to support for climate policy. This is true along most of the ideological spectrum — when people are aware of the expert consensus on human-caused global warming, they are more likely to support taking action to solve the problem."

So, in order to convince your friend/dad/aunt/neighbor that climate change is not actually a vast conspiracy so that we can push progress along...

Here are 13 astounding images that reflect how drastically climate change has already altered planet Earth.

1. A critical water shortage in Lodwar, Kenya, is no joke.

East Africa has been hit hard by a critical shortage of water, which climate change has only exacerbated. We'll be seeing a lot more droughts, like this one in 2009, due to rising global temperatures. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

2. The Passu Glacier in Pakistan is disappearing. Quickly.

This photo, taken in September 2015, shows a shrinking Passu Glacier in Pakistan's Gojal Valley. It's melting, and fast. Thanks, climate change. Photo by Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Bedono, Indonesia, is no stranger to massive flooding...

These floodwaters in Bedono, Indonesia, in 2013 were no laughing matter. Just like we can expect more droughts, we can also expect more flooding due to a warming planet. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images.

4. ...Neither is Somerset, United Kingdom...

This flood from 2014 in England wiped out an outrageous amount of farmland. In general, climate change means wet places will get wetter, and dry places get drier. (In both cases, not good.) Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

5. ...Or Fischbeck, Germany.

OK, last flood photo (I swear). But doesn't this one truly show how big of a deal this is? It was taken back in 2013. You can imagine how dangerous these flood were — to both the region's wildlife and people. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

6. Brush fires, like this one in Lake Hughes, California, will be getting more and more common.

This photo, taken in 2013 in Southern California, hits particularly close to home. Forest fires — a symptom of climate change that will only get worse with rising temperatures (remember when I mentioned dry places getting drier?) — remain a serious concern in the Golden State. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

7. And polluted air, seen here in Wuhan, China, will make Earth warmer while hurting our health.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is air pollution, captured in 2009 in Wuhan. Our addiction to burning fossil fuels doesn't just contribute to the planet's warming — it's downright terrible for our health. (I would not want to be a pair of lungs in that city.) Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

8. Isn't Greenland gorgeous? But wait ... there's a catch.

Whoa, the glacial ice sheet of Greenland is freaking gorgeous. Unfortunately (I hate to be Debbie Downer, but), that beautiful blue streak you see there? It's melted water. And that's not a good sign for coastal cities around the world, seeing as melting ice means rising sea levels. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

9. That big red blob in the Gulf Coast? Yeah, not good.

This satellite image of the Gulf Coast from 2008 captures Hurricane Gustav. It/he was a Category 3 storm that tore through Louisiana and endangered thousands. Climate change means more severe storms, just like this guy. Photo by NOAA via Getty Images.

10. Vincennes Bay, Antarctica, is getting warmer (and wetter).

This image, taken in Antarctica in 2008, is beautiful ... but also sad. Similar to what's happening in Greenland, the ice near Earth's poles is melting. And Vincennes Bay is no exception. Photo by Torsten Blackwood - Pool/Getty Images.

11. And Tehuacán, Mexico, is getting hotter (and drier).

A water hole in Tehuacán has definitely seen better days. The region, captured here in 2006, has been drastically affected by climate change, suffering from long, dire water shortages. Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images.

12. Coastlines, like this one in Shishmaref, Alaska, are literally falling into the sea.

This is Alaska in 2006. Rising temperatures have resulted in less sea ice and thawing of coastline permafrost, which, in turn, means more erosion. And more erosion means beach communities can end up looking like this. Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

13. And Marree, Australia, is one hot place.

Australia — already a pretty warm place — is getting hotter because of climate change. This photo, taken of the outback in 2005, shows what increasingly hot temperatures are doing to landscapes Down Under. Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

You just saw 13 depressing photos and feel hopeless and helpless and #OmgTheWorldIsEnding, right?

Don't feel that way!

The good news: People are increasingly waking up to the reality of climate change. Increased pressure on leaders to fight warming temperatures (both in the U.S. and abroad) has resulted in more eco-friendly policies around the world. And at the end of November, world leaders will gather in Paris for the United Nations COP21 summit with a mission to combat climate change for decades to come.

So what can you do this very moment? Fight oil drilling in the Arctic. Put more pressure on the president to make climate change action a top priority. Or learn how to live a little bit greener every day, just by doing the simple things.

The problem of climate change can seem overwhelming. But it's problem we created, and it's a problem only we can fix.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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