Heroes

16 terrifying pics of Spain's growing desert you should show a climate-change doubter.

If nothing changes, southern Spain will be a desert by 2100.

If you're headed to the beach in southern Spain, this probably isn't what you're envisioning:

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

In July, this duo was spotted sunbathing at the Entrepenas reservoir in Duron, the second largest reservoir in Spain.

And the pics really are worth a thousand words.


Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

The reservoir has shrunken dramatically as water levels drop.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

The receding water has given way to cracked, arid soil...  

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

...and abandoned relics reflecting a region that once revolved around life on the water.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Like the reservoir itself, tourism, and the local economy that benefits from it, are drying up too.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

So, what the heck is going on at the Entrepenas reservoir? Where has all the water gone?

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

The area's severe drought and dusty countryside are indicative of a larger force shaping landscapes across southern Spain.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

Yep, you guessed it: climate change.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

A 2016 study spelled disaster for the lush Mediterranean region due to human activity.

By 2100, southern Spain will have transformed into a desert, researchers have found — unless drastic measures are taken, like, now, to slash carbon emissions to curb the worsening effects of global warming.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

“The effect of the human is to deforest, to replace with agriculture and so on," lead author of the study, Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University, told The Guardian last year.

"You change the vegetation cover, the albedo, the humidity in the soil, and you will emphasize the drought when you do that," he continued, noting the Mediterranean is already very susceptible to the consequences of a warming planet. "If you have the [direct] human impact, it will be worse."

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

You don't have to be in southern Spain to see the alarming effects of climate change, of course.

In the U.S., researchers have pointed to similar dismal findings when it comes to global warming's impact on things like domestic tourism, expenses related to natural disasters, and food production.

Scientists, however, have not found a friend in the White House.

Unlike other prominent world leaders, President Trump has publicly rebuked the vast majority of climate scientists who say global warming is real and humans are to blame. He appointed Scott Pruitt — who's argued that the science surrounding climate change is still up for debate — to run the EPA. He's hellbent on resurrecting a dying, dirty coal industry and, in June, announced plans to pull the U.S. out of the world's best hope to collectively confront the woes of global warming: the Paris climate agreement.

Why doesn't Trump care?

Mother Nature certainly doesn't care about our national borders.

Similar consequences seen in southern Spain can also be seen in the U.S. and around the world.

Wildfires scorch the land near Santa Barbara, California, in July 2017. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

We need to act. Now.

Or else sad-looking beach day photos will become the norm.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.

To learn more about climate change and to take action, visit the Sierra Club.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less