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Discovery - Racing Extinction

You wouldn't expect Jane Goodall, who is basically the human form of Mother Earth, to talk about Mars.

But she makes a good point.

"The photographs obtained by that little robot that's crawling around the surface of Mars makes it very clear that the planet is not a hospitable environment for human colonization," the eco-octogenarian said during a recent speech at U.S. Department of State.


"We have to make do with planet Earth, and planet Earth has finite natural resources."


The red planet was just one of many unexpected topics Goodall talked about that didn't involve chimpanzees (except they all totally kind of do, in a way).

Here are six telling quotes from her speech that put a ton of big thoughts into perspective.

1. First and foremost, Goodall laid out how absurd it is that humans are even capable of ruining the planet.

Because when you think about it, it's the epitome of self-destruction.

Photo via Erik (HASH) Hersman/Flickr.

“How is it possible that the most intellectual creature to ever walk planet Earth is destroying its only home?"

As we mentioned, she brought up the fact our ventures to Mars have confirmed the red planet is not, in fact, a hospitable one for human life. And that means "we have to make do with planet Earth."

2. She told white folks that they gotta slow their roll when they want to help other places.

Throughout her speech, Goodall frequently discussed the success of her institute's TACARE program that, since its inception, has focused on listening to local communities first and then working with them to make better food, education, and health initiatives.

Photo by Nick Step/Flickr.

Unfortunately, that's not the same approach other aid groups have taken.

TACARE "began not in the way that so much well-intentioned but unfortunate aid has been delivered," she said. "It wasn't a bunch of white people arrogantly going out to these villages and telling them what we were going to do to make their lives better."

3. Goodall explained how her institute connected the dots between fighting poverty and fighting for the environment.

Because, in many respects, they're actually the same fight.

Photo via Festival della Scienza/Flickr.

Goodall explained to NPR how the correlation between financial desperation and environmental recklessness became increasingly clear in Tanzania, as there was "no way we can even attempt to save these precious Gombe chimpanzees" unless the needs of the people were met first.

As those people in Gombe were too poor to buy food, they were forced to cut down trees for money; their families needed to survive. This, in turn, destroyed the same forests chimpanzees depend on.

“Poverty is a huge force in the destruction of the environment, because when you're very poor, you're going to cut down the last trees in order to grow food to feed your family."

4. But poverty wasn't the only factor affecting Tanzania's forests. Gender equality, believe it or not, played a role too.

The correlation between empowering women and saving the environment may not be the most obvious. But Goodall detailed how her institute's work helping women in Gombe ended up saving trees (and her chimps' home).

Photo via Franz Johann Morgenbesser/Flickr.

After gaining the communities' trust, TACARE began prioritizing women's reproductive health and family planning services — a move that was "well-received by the villagers" because they, too, realized a growing population was leading to damaged farmland and unsustainable growth.

Family sizes needed to decrease. It was vital.

"The reason all the trees had gone, the reason the land was overused, was the sheer numbers of people."

The Jane Goodall Institute began helping girls and women access education through scholarships. As Goodall referenced in her speech, providing girls and women with access to an education has been a proven method in shrinking family sizes across the globe.

5. If you believe every person truly matters, the world can change. Just ask young people.

“Everywhere I go, there are young people with shining eyes, wanting to tell Dr. Jane what they've been doing to make the world a better place," she explained at the Department of State. That, she said, keeps her optimistic.

Goodall's Roots & Shoots program, aimed at getting youth involved in the protection of the Earth and its people, has expanded greatly since launching in 1991. Beginning with just 12 students in Tanzania, the program now works in 140 countries around the world.

Its fundamental message? “Every single individual matters," Goodall said during her speech. "Every single individual makes a difference, every day."



6. Because of both the human and environmental progress she's witnessed through her own institute, Goodall has high hopes for the future.

And it really all comes down to people.


Photo via Kafka4prez/Flickr.

“That indomitable human spirit — that's in every single one of us."

She's got a point. We humans really are one-of-a-kind.

As Goodall expressed so well, each one of us has the power to produce change.

And it can start with just one click. You can learn more about and support the Jane Goodall Institute by visiting the organization's website.

Watch Goodall's speech in front of the Department of State below:

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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