Everyone thought his ideas for making ice sounded crazy, but now he's a national hero.

Welcome to the rooftop of the world.

This is the story of a man who spent 40 years in the Himalayas watching glaciers melt. One day, he figured out how to do that himself — in reverse.

Ladakh sits at the northernmost tip of India, high in the mountains. Life here is not what anyone would call easy — average rainfall in these mountain villages where most people are farmers is less than two inches a year. Farmers in Ladakh have traditionally relied on glacial meltwater for their spring crops.


But climate change is creating a whole new challenge. The climate has been drier and warmer, with irregular, sometimes torrential rains. The glaciers in the Himalayas are melting faster than any other glaciers on the planet, and when water does come, there's too much of it at once. Basically, the farmers have a storage problem.

This is Chewang Norphel, who came from a farming family and spent his whole career as a civil engineer here. Watching farmers struggle to grow crops (only to give up and migrate to eke out a meager living in the city), Norphel focused his work on how to capture water in the winter and store it until spring when farmers need it.

While watching a small stream freeze when it flowed into the shade of some trees near his house, Norphel realized that he could imitate that process on a bigger scale. He could create a small glacier.

People laughed when I first presented the idea. They said, 'What crazy man are you? How can anyone make a glacier?'
— Chewang Norphel

While "growing glaciers" is not a totally new idea, Norphel had to convince people that he could build these glaciers large enough and close enough to villages to be useful to people. His early attempts in the 1990s worked so well that people were soon offering to help him construct more.

How did he do it?

His method involves channeling glacial meltwater to the shady side of a mountain.

Half-inch-wide iron pipes are placed perpendicularly to the edge of a small reservoir dug in the shaded area, where the water is collected. As the gradually freezing water seeps into the pipes, frozen blocks are pushed out the other side, and a neat, artificial glacier emerges. The glacier remains frozen until the spring when it begins to melt and water flows down to where farmers can use it.

Norphel's work is now being continued by younger engineers he's mentored. Sonam Wangchuk is using Norphel's ideas to create giant ice pyramids (which will melt more slowly), which he's dubbed ice stupas in honor of the dome-shaped shrines of the region.

Image by icestupa.org and used with permission.

As the search for climate solutions continues, the "ice man" is an innovator who has made a difference. He's been widely recognized for his contributions, even being named a climate hero. Check out his story below:

And for some fun, catch the Bollywood movie trailer that honors him too!

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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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.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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