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Heroes

18 amazing photos of Greenland and how it's about to change.

This is probably the picture that comes to mind when someone starts to talk about Greenland.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.


Stark, pale blue glaciers. High, rocky mountains.

Greenland is a poster child of climate change.

A scientist studying layers of ice in a glacier. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

It sometimes seems like the only images we see are giant fields of ice — and maybe, if you're lucky, a scientist in snow gear plunging an indescribable instrument into a snow drift, like some sort of future explorer on a distant planet.

It's easy to talk about Greenland as if it were some alien world.

But Greenland isn't just glaciers and snow.

An aerial view of Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

While it's true that about 80% of the country is covered by glaciers, many small towns and cities dot the coastlines.

More than 55,000 people call Greenland home.

Loretta Henriksen with rhubarb gathered from her garden. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

About 16,000 of them live in Nuuk, Greenland's largest city.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Nuuk is also Greenland's capital and home to the University of Greenland.

In 2013, photographer Joe Raedle went to Greenland, where he found children playing on playgrounds...

Playtime in Nuuk. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Families eating together in a cafe at a mall...

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

A young woman on a set swings...

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

And people relaxing with cups of coffee.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Out in the country, Raedle also snapped a shot of Greenlander Pilu Nielson playing with his dog near the family farm.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Nielson's family raises sheep and grows potatoes near the city of Qaqortoq.

As it turns out, Greenland can be, well, pretty green.

Trout caught in a stream near Qaqortoq. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

And climate change ... may actually be making the land greener?

Arnaq Egede walks along her family farm, the largest in Greenland. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

That's part of what Raedle went to Greenland to document: how the people are adapting to changes in their environment.

It probably doesn't come as a surprise that in recent years, Greenland has been getting a lot warmer.

Two men playing guitar in the summer sun, 2013. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The trend was already apparent when Raedle visited in 2013, and it hasn't let up since. In, fact, in June 2016, Greenland's capital hit its highest ever recorded temperature.

How climate change is affecting Greenland is more complicated than the thermometer, though.

On the one hand, climate change has been hurting traditional hunting practices. On the other, warmer summers have extended farmers' growing season.

A supermarket in Greenland. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

While Greenland's famous glaciers have been shrinking at a record pace, that's also opened up new land to farming and mining.

A geologist looking for samples to better understand the glacial retreat. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Greenland also has rich mineral deposits, including uranium, which could bring jobs — or exploit local workers. Many people, including some in Greenland's government, are being cautious about jumping in.

But climate change's biggest effect on Greenland may be the ocean.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Almost 90% of Greenland's export economy is made up of fish and shellfish, especially cold-water shrimp. Climate change may bring new species, but it may also endanger these precious stocks.

In a perhaps bittersweet twist, Greenland is also starting to get a lot of climate change tourism.

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images.

Tourists want to see the glaciers before they're gone. In 2010, Greenland had an estimated 60,000 tourists, according to Smithsonian Magazine — that's more tourists than there are Greenlanders!

Climate change is going to change a lot in Greenland, but Greenlanders seem adaptable.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"We're used to change," said Pilu Nielson (the farmer playing with his dog). "We learn to adapt to whatever comes."

It's easy to feel like climate change is something that'll only really matter in a hundred or a thousand years.

But these pictures show it's changing lives now, especially in Greenland.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

Via Ridwell

Ryan Metzger and son Owen

There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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In today's world, it's easy to get caught up in all the negative news we're exposed to, but in reality, most good deeds are done away from a camera—just one person helping another without desire for fanfare. And for mom Bryanne McBride and her young son, Mason, that's exactly what they were doing when they got the surprise of a lifetime.

Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

During the time it took for the unsuspecting mother to dig for loose change, the "stranded" stranger, Zach, introduced himself and asked if the duo were from Philly. Once they said they were from the area, he then inquired if they were Eagles fans...the football team, not the birds. "You ever been to an Eagles game?" Zach asked.

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Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

PA Struggles/Youtube

An estimated 50-70% of the population doesn't have an internal monologue.

The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

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Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

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