A camera captured just how different California looked during and after its drought.

Californians can finally take a long shower again.

Lake Oroville in 2017. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

On April 7, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared the state's three-year-long state of emergency — brought on by a devastating, five-year drought — over in all but four counties.


In the span of a single rainy winter, California's parched moonscapes were reborn in mud and greenery, bringing sudden, overdue relief to most corners of the long-suffering state.

Photographer Justin Sullivan captured the change in a series of astonishing photographs taken three years apart in the same locations and put the magnitude of the recovery in perspective.

1. In Oroville, a lake that had been reduced to a babbling brook by 2014 has officially been re-lake-ified.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

2. Boats in Lake Oroville's marina are finding they have a little more room to maneuver these days.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

3. Dogs in San Francisco's Bernal Heights Park have a more vibrant landscape to nose around in.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

4. Meanwhile, a cemetery in the Presidio got most of its color back.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

5. In Woodacre, horses are finding 2017 a far more promising grazing experience than the scene three years earlier.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

6. At Samuel P. Taylor State Park in Lagunitas, the threat of forest fire is finally ebbing.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

7. In El Dorado Hills, stranded boats are finally returning to the business of floating on water.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

8. And in Nicasio, ranches are looking a whole lot more postcard-worthy.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

The end of the water shortage hasn't been unconditionally good news because of the severity of the weather that brought it about.

Since the beginning of winter, communities across the state have been battered by storms causing mass power outages and worse.

Here's what happened to a spillway at Lake Oroville after a mudslide.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In February, landslides damaged the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur beyond repair, splitting the town in half, closing businesses, and forcing some residents to airlift in supplies.

Damage to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge. Photo by Vern Fisher/Monterey Herald.

Environmental scientists believe drought boom-bust swings like this are a byproduct of climate change.

In addition to its impact on infrastructure, a recent Kansas University study determined this "weather whiplash" can cause severe problems for drinking water quality and devastate ecosystems.

This whiplash is why Brown is urging the state continue to conserve water as if the drought were still going on.

With the danger of harsh and sudden water shortages increasing with changes to the climate, the governor plans to retain many of the water-saving regulations that went into effect during the three-year emergency.

If you live in California, and you worry about your future ability to hydrate, you can call your state legislators and ask them to make the laws permanent.

Fulsom Lake in 2014. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

If you live elsewhere in the country, you can call your elected officials to, you know, make sure they work as hard as they can to make climate change not a thing in the first place.

With the region finally getting back to normal, it's natural for residents to want to hope for the best.

The best way to realize that hope might just be to prepare for the return of the worst.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

This was about tearing down walls between people.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."