Climate change is so scary, it's making these women reconsider having children.

This summer, I attended a totally unusual baby party.

Instead of the typical banter about burping and baby food, this one had less of that and more of ... well, prospective parents gathering to discuss whether or not it still makes sense to have kids these days.


GIF via "Friends."

The decision to have a baby can be stressful. There's the money, there's having to, y'know, feed them and teach them stuff, there's staying up late, there's the money again. Having kids. It's kind of a big deal.

But for some people, there's another, perhaps less obvious, concern about bringing a child into the world.

The prospective parents at this party had one thing in common. They were all sincerely worried about climate change making the world unlivable for their children.

That's why Josephine Ferorelli and Meghan Kallman, two women of childbearing age, came up with the idea for Conceivable Future house parties. They couldn't stop thinking about the challenges climate change might pose for their children. Now that might sound overboard, but it's a legitimate concern.

So Josephine and Meghan started throwing these house parties for women and men who hadn't had kids yet — like a baby shower but without the tiny socks — to give people a chance to explore their complicated feelings about the whole situation.

So far, they've held a half dozen parties in homes, movie theaters, summer camps, and community centers from Seattle to New York City, with six more in the works.

“I've been conflicted about having children, and one of the main reasons is the question of what kind of world I'm going to will to that child," says Meghan Kallman, one of the organizers, in a video for the project.

She remembers her own niece being born during a heat wave two years ago and thinking that things just didn't feel normal in the world. And for what it's worth, 2014 was the hottest year on record, and now 2015 is set to beat that record, so this isn't just theoretical. Some people are sincerely scared, and this group gives those people a chance to voice their worries.

Climate change is happening. But these people want to make a difference.

At each party, attendees are invited to record their own testimony, and you can listen to many of them online. The stories are meant to show that the reason so many people care about climate change isn't about winning a political fight, or moral superiority, or even saving the very cute but far-away polar bears.

The real reason is because people love and want to look out for their families and children — and there's nothing sweeter than that. (Except tiny chocolate cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles, which I hear are served at all the best baby showers. Ahem.)

So what do the people running Conceivable Future want?

They want the U.S. government to stop subsidies to oil companies, which are creating pollution that contributes to climate change and endangering the futures of our hypothetical children. (It kind of reminds me of the plot line of “Knocked Up," when Katherine Heigl's character basically tells Seth Rogen's character he can't raise a kid with her if he's going to be high all the time. But, on a planetary scale. C'mon, Washington, pull your weight around here!)

Check out Meghan's video testimony, and ask yourself what kind of world you would like to see your children living in.

What we do now could make a difference for generations to come.

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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."

Singer Adele in 2016.


At long last, Adele's name is buzzing around the headlines again.

Anyone who follows the megastar on social media knows the announcement of her new album, "30," has been a bit of a global phenomenon. She was recently on both, yes, BOTH, covers of U.S. and British Vogue, where she gave her first interview in five years.

Her interviews cover a wide range of topics, where she answers questions in her quintessential relatable, slightly sailor-mouthed style we've all come to know and love. And whether she's talking about her divorce, weight loss or accountability as a celebrity, she's giving us a new look at owning your life. For me, those lessons are:


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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!