As Bob Dylan once sang, "The answer, my friends, is blowin' in the wind."

Reflecting on 2015 from our cozy perch here in early 2016, it would seem as though Dylan was right, at least in terms of wind energy. 2015 was one of the best years for wind energy ever, even better than 2014, which saw remarkable growth in wind power around the world.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, there were about 268,000 wind turbines spinning around the world at the end of 2014.


And as the 2015 numbers continue to roll in, it would appear that more and more countries are increasing their efforts and commitments by producing clean, renewable wind energy.

Three countries in particular stepped up their wind power game so much last year they deserve a special shoutout.

Like pinwheels but, you know, gigantic. Photo by Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images.

1. First up, Denmark.

Also known as Germany's cowlick, Denmark is home to Danish pastries, Grundtvig's Church, and popular cult filmmaker Lars von Trier, who directed 2009's feel-good comedy "Antichrist."

In 2015, Denmark emerged as the world's leading wind energy producer for the second year in a row.

According to Danish utility company Energinet, an incredible 42% of the country's energy came from wind power last year, which is the highest proportion achieved by a single country.

Is there a blog for pretty pictures of wind turbines? Photo by Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images.

While this success is partly due to an extremely windy year in Denmark, the results are consistent with the country's efforts to produce more and more wind power, as part of its commitment to hit some significant goals: relying on 50% wind power by 2020 and being 100% renewable by 2050.

The country's goals may be lofty but, as Denmark's minister for energy, utilities, and climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt told The Guardian, hitting them should provide a case-study in what is economically possible when you're committed to renewable energy:

"Hopefully, Denmark can serve as an example to other countries that it is possible to have both ambitious green policies with a high proportion of wind energy and other renewables in the energy supply, and still have a high security of supply and competitive prices on electricity."

Nicely done, Denmark.

2. Next, we have Morocco.

Morocco is the home of spiced coffee, beautifully intricate architecture, and of course Casablanca — the best town in the world to walk into a gin joint and annoy Humphrey Bogart.

Morocco is also the home of Africa's largest wind energy project: a farm that covers an area of 8,900 hectares with 131 turbines.

The wind farm in Tarfaya, Morocco. Photo by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Morocco's investment in wind energy has definitely paid off, as the price of wind power has just reached a new global low for Moroccan citizens with the lowest bids being around $25 per megawatt-hour.

Normally, reaching a new low is a bad thing (like starring in a road trip movie with Zac Efron), but in this case, it means that the cost of wind energy is now cheaper than it's ever been in Morocco. Wind energy is even cheaper than coal power, which is often described as the "dirty but cheap" energy option.

Clean, renewable, dare I say ... sexy wind power. Photo by Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images.

The results of the wind energy project are "amazing" according to Abderrahim El Hafidi, vice minister of energy and environment in Morocco, who hopes that it points to a "real revolution" in energy production around the world:

“Isn’t that amazing that we can have confidence in renewable energy for the future of our energy and for the future of the planet?”

Hey, Morocco, I know we don't talk much but ... you're pretty awesome.

3. And finally, we have China.

China, the "Greatest Wall" winner of 206 B.C., has had a tumultuous relationship with renewable energy in the past, to put it lightly.

The country is the biggest polluter in the world and emitted about 10,540,000 kilotons of carbon in 2014. (Before you get too judge-y, America had the dubious honor of coming in second place.)

Recently though, China has made efforts to turn that number around. Late in 2015, China committed to cap and trade carbon emissions and sharply increased its targets for both wind and solar production.

Because of those efforts, as of last year, China is believed to be the largest installer of clean energy in the world.

Wind turbines in northern China. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

According to a report from British research firm GlobalData, in 2015, China accounted for 40% of all renewable energy projects. Which is representative of their shift in policy and consciousness.

Energy company Maxwell Technologies also recently announced that it had been selected by a Chinese electric company to build the world's first megawatt-scale, ultracapacitor-based wind farm energy storage system. Or, to put it simply, they're creating one of the most efficient and powerful wind power systems on the planet.

Dr. Franz Fink, Maxwell's president and CEO, noted the unique opportunity is indicative of a growing demand for clean energy in China and around the world:

"With growing demand, we see a great deal of opportunity to partner with more Chinese customers to expand ultracapacitor-based energy storage in more applications."

Here's to you, China.

As wind power technology continues to advance, it will only get more efficient and more cost-effective.

One of the reasons wind power is on the rise is because the business of wind power is improving. While clean renewable energy is good for the health of the planet, a lot of countries can't or won't reasonably make the shift until it's a good economic decision to do so.

If that's not a sign, I don't know what is. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images.

With wind power costs being so affordable in Morocco, and with Denmark and China leading the way into a wind-based energy future, it won't be long until every country can find the economic justification to follow suit, for the good of humanity as well as our collective wallets.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

This article originally appeared on 07.22.15



"So just recently I went out on a Match.com date, and it was fantastic," begins Dr. Danielle Sheypuk in her TEDx Talk.

If you've ever been on a bunch of Match.com dates, that opening line might make you do a double take. How does one get so lucky?!

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date.

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date. Photo by Thinkstock.


But don't get too jealous. Things quickly went downhill two dates later, as most Match.com dates ultimately do. This time, however, the reason may not be something that you've ever experienced. Intrigued? I was too. So here's the story.Gorgeous!

Gorgeous! Photo from Dr. Sheypuk's Instagram account, used with permission.

She's a licensed clinical psychologist, an advocate, and a model — among other things. She's also been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. And that last fact is what did her recent date in.

On their third date over a romantic Italian dinner, Sheypuk noticed that he was sitting farther away from her than usual. And then, out of nowhere, he began to ask the following questions:

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

@elenisabracos on TikTok

Look, it’s a sad situation for anyone to hear that Adele will not be gracing the stage any time soon. The beloved singer woefully announced on Instagram last Friday (Jan 21) that her planned residency in Las Vegas “wasn’t ready” due to coronavirus. Half of her crew had been infected, making it “impossible to finish the show.”

But for one fan in particular, who has tried—and failed miserably—to catch Adele live on three separate occasions, the news hit particularly hard. Luckily, her sense of humor proves that any tragedy can turn into comedy gold.

This story, with all its hilarious twists and turns, is quite the delightful saga. And though it doesn’t erase all the gutting disappointments left from pandemic cancellations, it does serve as wholesome entertainment.

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This article originally appeared on August 14, 2016


Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






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