If you're 30, see what the Arctic ice cap was doing when you went to high school.

If you're 30 years old, you've seen a good amount of change in your lifetime. Over the years you've gone from child to teenager to real adult. You've worked your way through the trials and tribulations of first steps, first crushes, and first jobs. You went to school, got jobs, and grew up. It's the start of an immense and grand story.

But you're not the only thing changing in this story. As you've grown, the background has changed too. Sometimes it's obvious — like moving to a new house or a new city.


But is it possible that larger things changed too?

If you're 30, you started the first grade around 1991 or so.


Back when this was the greatest place on Earth. Image from Matthew Paul Argall/Flickr.

Let's go way back — the first real day of school. New teachers, new kids. Homework, for the first time ever. I remember someone informing me that there were 11 more grades to go and being baffled that anything could possibly take that long!

Meanwhile, the world spun on. Plants grew and died with the seasons, storms came and and went, and up in the Arctic, the ice grew and shifted, as always.

1991. All GIFs from NOAA Climate.gov/YouTube.

You were a high school freshman in 1999, or so.

Eight years later, you were probably starting high school. You weren't the hyperactive kid anymore; you were more stable. More collected. More cool (maybe).

Meanwhile, exciting things were happening in the world. "Star Wars: Episode I," "The Matrix," and "Family Guy" all premiered that year. People were Y2K-proofing their computers. And everyone was drawing that weird S-thing on their notebooks.

1999.

And the Arctic still went through its annual cycle of freeze and thaw.

This is an animation created by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, by the way. The colors in the GIFs show how old the ice is: The whiter the ice is, the older it is.

And ice, like people, tends to get stronger and more resilient as it matures. It's more likely to stick around through tough times. At first there seemed to be a lot of old ice. But something's changing...

If you went to college, you were probably the class of 2007.

Bob Barker bids farewell to "The Price Is Right," but Don Draper steps into the zeitgeist as the wildly-popular "Mad Men" premieres. The final "Harry Potter" book comes out.

As for you, this was a year of caps and gowns and new jobs. By now you were into your 20s — officially an adult — someone with real responsibility and experience. Someone who things can start to count on to stick around.

2007.

But the same can't be said for the North Pole.

Did you spot the pattern? Look close - the white part's starting to disappear. The old ice is going away.

And if you have kids, they might have been born in either 2011 or 2012, statistically speaking.

2011-2012.

But by then the old ice had practically disappeared.

That means the entire ice pack is weaker, more fragile, and more likely to melt in the summer. In 2012, for example, the summer extent of the ice was only about half the 1979-2000 average.

It's as if someone took a population of strong, resilient adults and replaced them with first graders.

What will the world be like by the time the next generation turns 30?

By the time the kids born in 2011 turn 30, the Arctic could be largely ice-free during the summer.

This could have huge implications for the planet. Melting sea ice could change weather patterns thousands of miles away. Ocean currents could change too. And all the people and animals — like polar bears — who depend on the ice would be in serious trouble.

But we can still do something about the underlying cause. By using less fossil fuel and investing in green energy, we can help slow down climate change and, hopefully, help retain as much of that mature ice as we can.

And it starts with us knowing what's going on in the great white north. Let's spread the word.

Watch the full animation below:

It's mesmerizing.

Video from NOAA Climate.gov/YouTube.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via @Kingkeraun / Twitter

Keraun Harris, who goes by the name King Keraun, is a popular comedian on social media who's appeared as an actor on HBO's "Insecure" and ABC's "Black-ish."

On Monday, he posted a video on Twitter sharing the story of how a white woman had his back during a recent traffic stop.

"I just got pulled over, and for the first time, I watched a white woman record my whole traffic stop," she said.

Keep Reading Show less
True

*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

Keep Reading Show less