How has the world changed since 'An Inconvenient Truth' premiered?

In the past decade, a lot has changed in our fight against climate change.

In a recent Q&A with Sen. Bernie Sanders published in The Guardian, former Vice President Al Gore pinpointed "two big things" that have changed since his groundbreaking documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" hit theaters in 2006.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The New York Times.


One is rather promising. The other? Not so much.

1. First, the bad news: There's been a jaw-dropping increase in extreme weather that was considered relatively rare in 2006.

"The climate-related extreme weather events are way more common now, and way more destructive," Gore told Sanders. "Here in the U.S., in the last seven years, we’ve had 11 so-called 'once-in-a-1,000 year' downpours."

"1,000-year" is an official term used by organizations like the NOAA National Center for Environmental Information to describe the probability that such an event will happen in a given year. South Carolina's record-breaking October 2015 flooding — which The Weather Channel deemed "catastrophic" — was one of those events.

A man in Columbia, South Carolina, cleans up his home after much of it was destroyed in the floods that ravished the region in October 2015. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images.

Upward of 2 feet of rain blanketed many regions of the state in under 24 hours, causing massive (and expensive) damages and taking over a dozen lives.

These events have become disturbingly normal, Gore said. On the other hand, we've also normalized many of the innovative solutions that help drastically cut back greenhouse gas emissions.

Which brings us to...

2. The thing that'll make you feel optimistic: When "An Inconvenient Truth" released in theaters over a decade ago, many solutions to reduce carbon emissions were still out of reach.

Not anymore.

"In a growing number of cities and regions, electricity from solar and wind is cheaper than electricity from burning fossil fuels," the former vice president said. "Electric cars are becoming more commonplace. Efficiency technologies are coming down in cost."

In other words, going green has become good business.

Workers install solar panels in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2016. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

After President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement to dramatically lower the world's carbon emissions, many have argued the country will reach its targets anyway as sustainable technologies continue to boom.

An analysis by Morgan Stanley found that the economic benefits to switching to renewable energies is outweighing the pros to keeping up the status quo:

"By our forecasts, in most cases favorable renewables economics rather than government policy will be the primary driver of changes to utilities’ carbon emissions levels. For example, notwithstanding president Trump’s stated intention to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, we expect the US to exceed the Paris commitment of a 26-28% reduction in its 2005-level carbon emissions by 2020."

As Gore put it, "The problems are worse, but the solutions are here."

We can't assume progress will happen, though; we have to work for it.

"All over the country activists are being energized," Gore said. And it's those activists — not just politicians in Washington — who will make the difference. "We are counting on people at the grassroots level."

Gore sat down to chat with Sanders to promote his new film on climate change, "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," which opens in theaters on July 28, 2017. Watch a trailer below:

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? 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.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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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."