How a New York DJ learned 3 priceless lessons in the untouched beauty of the Alaskan Arctic
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Sierra Club

What's a DJ got to do with the Alaskan Arctic?

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska contains caribou, grizzly bears, and (for a brief part of 2014) an iconic New Yorker named Paul Miller. He's also known as DJ Spooky.

He went with The Sierra Club as part of a small expedition on the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Wilderness Act of 1964 is an especially inspiring law:


"A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

Paul's interest in going is pointed. He says:

“This trip to the wildest edge of our nation will reveal the role of climate change today and how it impacts cultures that have endured for millennia. I hope to grow and capture my understanding of the journey to inspire others who may never make it to the wilderness along the Arctic coast."

Paul shares three lessons on his journey to the wildest edge.

1. Some resources are finite. Imagination is infinite.

We can use imagination to help solve challenge of fossil fuels and climate change.

GIFs via The Sierra Club.

“The imagination is the ultimate renewable resource," says Paul. The melting icebergs in the background indicate other resources are, perhaps, less renew-y.

2. Humans need breaks in wilderness.

Coming from New York City, Paul reflects on the intense pace of information in our daily lives.

Paul thinks, “We're going into information overload. There's too much of everything all the time."

3. Read the landscape to help make decisions.

In a tiny boat in the middle of nowhere, Paul reflects on the need to read the landscape like a text. This understanding could help us protect the wilderness.

“Every turn in the river, we have to make decisions," advises Paul.

Check out the rest of Paul's advice on taking inspiration from wilderness in this video:

We're at one of those turns in the river now.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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