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League of Conservation Voters

Daniel Price and Erlend Møster Knudsen were really, really fed up with the climate change conversation — specifically, how no one seemed to care about it.

The two friends had met in Svalbard while working on their doctorates — Erlend, a Norway native, was studying Arctic climate science, and Dan from London had a focus on the Antarctic.

"We both agreed that we were spending way too much time writing papers that would only be read by other academics," Erlend explained in an interview with Cafe Babel.


"I sat down at my desk one day finishing up my PhD and I realised that even my parents didn’t know about COP21, even my parents who I babble on, complaining about my PhD to ... . My closest friends weren’t even getting it," Dan told Desmog UK.


But what was the point of all their hard work if the rest of the world refused to pay attention?

They realized that if people didn't care about the science, then maybe the human struggle side could open their eyes.

"The main thing that’s missing in this entire problem is personal stories and making this relevant to people and getting the emotional side across," Dan explained in a Q&A at the Earth to Paris event during COP21.

"And I think that’s going to become far more apparent as we come into the next few decades. So finding a way to communicate those stories is going to be a key way to inspire action."

That's why Dan and Erlend created Pole to Paris, an environmental odyssey that would bring them across the world to raise awareness about climate change.

Starting from their quite polar opposite research positions in the Arctic and Antarctic, Dan and Erlend travelled by foot and bicycle (mostly) for a total combined distance of nearly 20,000 kilometers, ultimately reuniting in Paris just in time for COP21.

Along the way, they lectured at community events and spoke to the local people living on the front lines of our changing planet, bringing public awareness and personal stories to the center of the climate crisis. The original goal was to make the journey without relying on carbon emissions, but, of course, it's hard to bike or run across the ocean, so they did have to rely on a few boats and planes, however reluctantly.


Erlend took the northern route, running 3000 kilometers from the Arctic Circle in Norway all the way to Paris.

This part of the path was dubbed the "Northern Run," for obvious reasons. And while Erlend spent the first half of his trek mostly by himself, he was accompanied by some official Pole to Paris friends as he made his way through the United Kingdom and Belgium.

But Erlend's most remarkable memory from the trip was a meeting with the Saami, the indigenous people of Norway. Here's how he regaled the tale at Earth to Paris:

"Normally the winter out there will freeze the ground from maybe October to maybe April. And it will stay cold. Now things are changing. The Arctic is warming over twice as fast as the global average. So as it gets warmer, now they have this rainfall in the middle of winter, and when it rains it creates ice layers. The reindeer aren’t able to dig through these ice layers down to the food. The calves starve, and the people have to start buying food in the winter, which is very expensive, in order to keep this livelihood. [...] It’s not like me, I live in the city and I can just go to the supermarket to get food. These people see these changes first hand, because they actually live on the natural resources. They have stories to tell."

Meanwhile, Dan rode his bicycle a whopping 10,000 kilometers on an excursion that they called the "Southern Cycle."

His journey took him through more than 19 countries over the course of seven months, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Russia. While he didn't have any official accompaniment, Dan made plenty of friends along the way, despite a few language barriers. ("How do you communicate climate change in hand signals?!" he quipped during Earth to Paris.)


Dan was struck hardest by the people in Bangladesh, and with the help of a translator, he was able to communicate their struggles for us:

"One woman, she was a wonderful woman, told me that she was terrified of the ocean. She’s already had to move her home before. She has two young children, and now she's three meters from the shore, protected only by a wall. The danger there, these people have nowhere else to go. It’s horrendous really. The Bangladesh people are so wonderful, resilient incredible people. So kind, generous. And they’re on the front lines of this. It’s these people that we have to speak for."


While Dan and Erlend's cross-country travels have ended, their work is hardly done — and it's more important than ever that we all support the fight against climate change.

Here's what Erlend and Dan had to say after the (mediocre) conclusion of COP21:

"We have a deal. We are a long way from where we need to be, but today for the first time the world has said we will." — Posted by Pole to Paris on Dec. 12, 2015

Dan and Erlend will continue their hard scientific work from their respective polar positions. But if you want to help them in the battle against climate change, you can start by signing this petition to support America's Clean Power Plan and the EPA's efforts to protect the planet.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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Ginger the dog reunited with family 5 years after being stolen

Ginger's family never gave up hope, and it payed off.

Ginger the dog was missing for five years before being reunited with her family.

A sweet pup is finally home with her family where she belongs after way too many years away.

Ginger the dog was stolen from her family back in 2017. Her owner, Barney Lattimore of Janesville, Wisconsin, never gave up the hope that his sweet girl was out there somewhere. Whenever he'd see a dog listed on a rescue website or humane society website that even remotely resembled his Ginger, he would inquire about the dog. Unfortunately, it was never her. You'd think that after a while he would stop, but if he had, he likely wouldn't have gotten the sweetest reunion.

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"Veteran" mom and "new" mom parent differently.

When a couple has their first child, they start out with the greatest of intentions and expectations. The child will only eat organic food. They will never watch TV or have screen time and will always stay clean.

But soon, reality sets in and if they have more kids, they'll probably be raised with a lot less attention. As a result, first-born kids turn out a bit differently than their younger siblings.

"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."

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