Forget the weekend forecast: Here's the weather report for the next decade.
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League of Conservation Voters

Weather apps are wonderful things, like little Magic 8-Balls in our pockets that double as conversation starters.

My only complaint? Sure, it's nice that they can warn us when rain will wreck this weekend's picnic, but what about that wedding next summer?

What if we could predict the weather far beyond the coming week? Well, turns out we can.


Weather's gettin' sassy here! Photo by Josh McGinn/Flickr (cropped).

No, really! There's now a way to find the current conditions — while also getting a glimpse of the future (and the past!).

Created by a team of independent journalists, climate scientists, and meteorologists from Climate Central, WXshift is a new website that not only tells you what the weather is right now, but also offers different ways to visualize how the overall climate is shifting.

Specifically, it helps you understand the ways that weather has changed over time in your current location and what that forecast is looking like for the future.

Here's what WXshift looks like right now:


(I was actually hoping to show you the weather/climate comparison here in Paris, where I currently am and where the 2015 COP21 Climate Conference is currently underway, but WXshift only works in America right now, so I punched in my home ZIP code. Ah well.)

And if you're still unclear about the difference between weather and climate, you can think of it in terms of this delicious Vietnamese meal that I'm currently enjoying: "Weather" is the wonderful bo bun au porc dish I'm eating right now while "climate" refers to my overall dietary practices (i.e. eating all of the delicious things — last year, next week, next month, etc.).

Think of it as weather in context.

It's easy to be preoccupied with the weather right in front of us. But WXshift is a better way to see beyond the haze — which is more important now than ever, given the current conditions of the world.

Sure, it's easy to crack jokes about the follies of weathermen. Even I get cranky when it's a 20% chance of rain and I'm caught in a downpour. But while humans can't predict the future with 100% accuracy, we are pretty good at picking out the patterns and cycles that emerge over time.

Oh, don't act all innocent like you don't know that the way you calculate probability of precipitation is weird and misleading. Admit it, Mr. Meteorologist! You wanted me to get wet! Photo by Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons.

The truth is that even those of us who believe the vast scientific consensus about climate change aren't always aware of just how bad it is.

There are many parts of America where even the year-to-year fluctuations don't seem so bad. For example, by the time next summer comes around, you're hardly going to notice or care about the difference between 85.6 degrees and 85.8 degrees.

It's not until you look at the bigger picture that you see the undeniable upward curve. Which is why WXshift is so cool. And important.

It allows us to visualize what's happening to our planet.


Which part of "Up" don't you understand? Graph from NASA.

And that bigger picture paints a pretty clear story: It's time to take action. And fast.

Again, I'm in Paris, so I'll compare it to the Impressionist paintings of the great Claude Monet: Up close, they look like random smudges of paint, and it's only when you step away that you can see the water lilies for what they really are.

But in this case, replace "water lilies" with "flash floods and forest fires and sinking shorelines and other catastrophic events of nature," and you'll have a more accurate picture.

See? They get the picture. Photo of Monet's "Water Lilies" at the Musée de l'Orangerie taken by me. Insert your own apocalyptic embellishments.

WXshift won't stop the rain from ruining our beach plans. But it could help us save the world for our descendants.

Our planet's at a turning point: If we don't take action now to curb our carbon emissions, the next generations will be stuck with the (pretty horrific) consequences.

Try showing WXshift it to someone you know who still refuses to submit to the scientific census about climate change. Or use it to just get a clearer sense of how this moment in time stacks up to the past and future.

And if you want to take action to keep these predictions from becoming reality, you can start by signing this petition to support America's Clean Power Plan.

In the meantime, here's a look at how WXshift looks for a few other cities around the country:

Chicago




Houston




Kansas City




Los Angeles




Miami



New Orleans



New York City


Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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