17 photos of people who know just how high the stakes of climate change are.

While world leaders were traveling to Paris to attempt to finally agree on what to do about climate change, people all over the world got together to hold their feet to the fire.

The ostensible goal of the COP21 conference in France is to produce a legally binding agreement that will help reduce emissions and slow down global warming. But climate change is already here, and the usual conference scenario — lots of important people talking a lot while getting little done — ain't gonna cut it anymore.

That's why this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people around the world gathered to send a message to their leaders:


Less talking, more doing.

1. Bogota, Colombia

A protestor holds up a heart-shaped sign that asks world leaders, "Are you ready for extinction?"

Photo by Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images.

Hopefully, she's exaggerating for rhetorical effect.

Hopefully.

2. New York

Everyone's favorite Science Guy, the one and only Bill Nye joined the crowd.

Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nye the Science Guy. Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images.

"The climate is changing. It's our fault, and we have to get to work on this now," Nye reportedly said at the rally, according to the New York Daily News. When even the best-case scenarios include scary outcomes like more flooding, bigger and badder droughts, and massive crop die-offs, it's hard to disagree with the (science) guy.

3. Sao Paulo

Photo by Nelson Almeida/Getty Images.

Hulk would very much like to smash climate change.

If only, Hulk. If only.

4. Oslo, Norway

Though Norwegian glaciers bravely held on until the late-1990s, they're now retreating just like in most of the rest of the world.


Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

Unless a comprehensive, binding climate agreement with teeth gets signed in Paris this year, the glaciers of Norway will likely be forever remembered as having peaked right around the time Smash Mouth did.

5. Santiago, Chile

Her sign reads: "People in charge: This is my Earth, and it's also yours and your children's. Don't destroy it."

Photo by Martin Bernetti/Getty Images.

Good — if dire — advice, Chile.

6. London

At the London rally, Welsh singer Charlotte Church performed a new song she wrote about confronting Earth's impending climate crisis.

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

The song is still untitled as of publication, but might I suggest, "Wake Up and Do Something, You Dolts?"

Has a nice ring to it, is all I'm saying.

7. Amsterdam

A Dutch man with a killer beard carries a sign that reads, "This road is a dead end" — and not only because it appears he's about to smash into a giant scale replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Photo by Bart Maat/Getty Images.

He's referring to this road. The one the Earth appears to be on. Turn around much, Team Paris?

8. Frankfurt, Germany

Frank Rumpenhorst/Getty Images.

Should the worst-case climate scenario come to pass (a temperature increase in excess of two degrees Celsius, a world-altering mega-sea level rise of 20 feet or more, and millions of displaced people around the globe) figuring out how to fit bugs with World War I-era gas masks will be the least of our problems.

9. Mexico City

Photo by Yuri Cortez/Getty Images.

This mask: precisely 150% less scary than the effects of a sea level rise that conforms to even the most conservative estimates.

10. Nantes, France

A few days before the climate talks were set to begin, folks all across France got together to protest a ban on large gatherings that was imposed after the Paris attacks.

Photo by Jean-Sebastien Evrard/Getty Images.

Though some of the marches devolved into clashes with police, this one manifested as a nice, chill circle.

11. Johannesburg

In South Africa, thousands marched to draw attention to the connection between climate change and worsening poverty.

Photo by Mujahid Safodien/Getty Images.

According to a World Bank report, rising global temperatures could help lead 100 million more people down the path to extreme poverty, unable to afford even the most basic spooky skeleton mask.

12. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/Getty Images.

World leaders planning to bulls*** their way through the climate meetings should think twice before messing with these women or their brighly-colored flowers.

13. Montevideo, Uruguay

As a result of climate change, Uruguay has been contending with increased rainfall and more intense storms.

Photo by Miguel Rojo/Getty Images.

Thankfully, these protestors chose one of the decreasing number of bright, near-perfect sunny days to send a message over to France.

14. Ottawa, Ontario

Photo by Patrick Doyle/Getty Images.

A protester on Canada's Parliament Hill, modeling what many in coastal cities around the world will be forced to wear just to say afloat if too many glaciers melt.

15. Vienna

Photo by Joe Klamar/Getty Images.

According to a 2014 study published in Nature Climate Change, climate change could reduce the Antarctic penguin population by up to one-fifth, rendering it no longer possible to make it through "March of the Penguins," without bursting into tears for the wrong reasons instead of the right reasons.

16. Madrid

Photo by Gerard Julien/Getty Images.

Estimates released by the UN in 2011 clearly demonstrate that, if we really wanted to, we could be using renewable energy to meet 80% of the world's power needs within the next 40 years — and that still wouldn't be enough for these Spanish marchers demanding 100% renewable energy with their delightful yellow sun placards.

17. Geneva

"Hey world leaders, what's good?" — this polar bear. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images.

If arctic sea ice continues to melt at current rates — up to 9% per decade — polar bears may be forced to move to major cities around the globe and march defiantly in parades. Which is why the world needs to act — now.

'Cause let's be honest, leaving aside all the grave consequences drastic climate change might wreak, that would be super weird.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Singer Adele in 2016.


At long last, Adele's name is buzzing around the headlines again.

Anyone who follows the megastar on social media knows the announcement of her new album, "30," has been a bit of a global phenomenon. She was recently on both, yes, BOTH, covers of U.S. and British Vogue, where she gave her first interview in five years.

Her interviews cover a wide range of topics, where she answers questions in her quintessential relatable, slightly sailor-mouthed style we've all come to know and love. And whether she's talking about her divorce, weight loss or accountability as a celebrity, she's giving us a new look at owning your life. For me, those lessons are:


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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!