+
upworthy
Heroes

2 men toured the planet on bike and foot to find human stories about climate change.

True
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.

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash

Can flying to college twice a week really be cheaper than renting?

Some students choose to live at home while they go to college to save money on living expenses, but that's generally only an option for families who live in college towns or cities with large universities where a student can easily commute.

For University of British Columbia student Tim Chen, that "easy commute" is more than 400 miles each way.

Twice a week, Chen hops on a flight from his home city of Calgary, flies a little more than an hour to Vancouver to attend his classes, then flies back home the same night. And though it's hard to believe, this routine actually saves him approximately $1,000 a month.

Keep ReadingShow less

Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

Keep ReadingShow less
Internet

Man goes out of his way to leave tip for a server after realizing he grabbed the wrong receipt

Instead of just brushing it off and moving on, the man wrote out a note explaining what happened with a sincere apology along with a $20 cash tip and delivered it to the restaurant.

Man goes out of his way to leave forgotten tip for server

Being in the service industry can be hard. People have to spend long hours on their feet, deal with repetitive movements that can create pain and sometimes interact with not so nice customers. When you rely on tips for survival on top of everything else, it can feel like a bit of a gut punch when someone decides not to leave you one despite how good your service was.

One customer must've realized the disappointment that can occur after not receiving a tip when serving tables because he went out of his way to give one. In a post shared on Reddit, a customer revealed in a letter that he realized he took the wrong receipt after leaving. Instead of taking the blank one, he took the merchant's copy which holds the tip amount and his signature.

The error was discovered when he was checking his bank account and saw the amount taken off of his card was not the amount he expected. That's when he decided to check the receipt from that day and saw the error.

Keep ReadingShow less

Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.

After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Scientists have finally figured out how whales are able to 'sing' underwater

The physical mechanism they use has been a mystery until now.

Baleen whales include blue, humpback, gray, fin, sei, minke whales and more.

We've long known that baleen whales sing underwater and that males sing in tropical waters to attract females for mating. What we haven't known is how they're able to do it.

When humans make sound underwater, we expel air over through our vocal chords and the air we release rises to the surface as bubbles. But baleen whales don't have vocal chords, and they don't create bubbles when they vocalize. Toothed whales, such as sperm whales, beaked whales, dolphins and porpoises, have an organ in their nasal passages that allows them to vocalize, but baleen whales such as humpback, gray and blue whales don't.

Whales are notoriously difficult to study because of their size and the environment they require, which is why the mechanism behind whale song has remained a mystery for so long. It's not like scientists can just pluck a whale out of the ocean and stick it in an x-ray machine while it's singing to see what's happening inside its body to create the sound. Scientists had theories, but no one really knew how baleen whales sing.

Now, thanks to researchers at the University of Denmark, that mystery has been solved.

Keep ReadingShow less