Australia wanted tourists to forget climate change is a thing. It backfired.

Climate denial doesn't look good on you, Australia.

It's difficult to overstate the amazingness of the Great Barrier Reef.

Photo by HO/AFP/Getty Images.


Thousands of sea creatures and an array of colorful coral types call this natural Australian wonder home.

Like this curious little fella.

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

So it makes sense that tourists are drawn from across the globe to see the reef — the largest structure created by living organisms on Earth.

Photo by Adam Pretty/ALLSPORT/Getty Images.

Great Barrier Reef tourism pours billions of dollars into Australia, so keeping travelers interested in its pristine sights is a pretty big priority Down Under.


Photo by Eddie Safarik/Tourism Queensland via Getty Images.

Unfortunately, the Australian government was willing to sweep a catastrophic problem facing the reef under the rug in order to keep this booming industry afloat.

Climate change has already caused "serious and lasting damage" to a sizable portion of the reef, with coral bleaching — a process caused by temperature influx that calcifies and potentially kills coral — destroying as much as 35% of the reef in certain regions, a new report found.


But Aussie officials would rather not remind the public of these grave threats if it means their tourism numbers might drop.

According to The New York Times, the Australian government requested that UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Program remove the Great Barrier Reef from the (not-so-great) findings of a new environmental report, "World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate."

The UN and UNESCO complied.

Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images.

In fact, all mentions of any habitats in Australia — including Kakadu National Park and the Tasmanian forests — were nixed from the report, according to The Guardian.

“Australia is the only inhabited continent that is not featured in the report,” professor Will Steffen of the Climate Change Institute at Australian National University told The New York Times. “Information is the currency of democracy, and the idea that government officials would exert pressure to censor scientific information on our greatest national treasure is extremely disturbing.”


Protesters urge more action to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Photo by Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images.

Australia has to have some justifiable reason for pressuring the UN into quietly leaving it out of the report, though ... right?

Wrong.

The country's Department of the Environment told The Guardian that an earlier working title of the report — "Destinations at Risk: World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate" — would cause "considerable confusion" to the public in regards to the real dangers facing the reef.

It also argued the report would promote “negative commentary" on the reef and affect tourism. Which, OK, that might be true, but should one country's revenue from tourism really be a consideration for the United Nations Environment Program? Like ... at all?

Yeaah, the Internet doesn't think so either.

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

Australia's attempt to downplay the threats of a warming planet illustrates why fighting climate change can be such an uphill battle.

Curbing global temperatures isn't easy. Shifting energy sources, establishing new protective regulations, fighting back against the interests of the world's wealthiest corporations, and, yes, sometimes allowing some damning reports to be published if it means spurring positive change — that's really tough stuff.

But if Australia wants to keep its tourist-magnet flourishing tomorrow, it needs to take on a dire reality facing its waters today.

Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images.

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture