Heroes

Meet the giant air-sucking wall that might help combat climate change.

Think of it as a giant, high-tech, Earth-saving Lego wall.

Do me a favor and stare at the air in front of you.

Yep — right in front of you. I know you can't see it, but you're staring at a lot of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide naturally cycles between living things and the environment. Think back to your second grade photosynthesis lessons: photosynthesis happens when plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and convert it into oxygen. Then humans and animals breathe in that oxygen, breathing out carbon dioxide ... and on and on the cycle goes.


What's new to this equation, though, is the carbon dioxide we've artificially added to that natural cycle.

Carbon dioxide emissions increased by 7% between 1990 and 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Carbon that would have previously been stored underground and released slowly (or not at all) is now being released rapidly, mostly because of industry and electricity. Traffic emissions alone — the carbon dioxide released by vehicles — account for almost 60% of those extra fumes.

Industry and factories have drastically increased carbon dioxide emissions, which can lead to global warming. Photo via Carbon Engineering.

But here's the issue: while carbon emissions have increased, our planet still absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide, meaning that there's more in the environment than ever before (cue: global warming).

That's why a group of Canadian engineers are constructing a wall that sucks carbon dioxide right out of the air.

Yep, you read that right. Rather than letting that extra carbon dioxide hang out, these carbon engineers want to reduce the threat of climate change by absorbing CO2 molecules and creating carbon-neutral fuels.

This carbon-dioxide-sucking wall (which doesn't exist yet) will do the carbon sucking work of millions of trees. Photo via Carbon Engineering.

These engineers built a prototype of the technology in Squamish, Canada, an hour's drive north of Vancouver.

Basically, the wall will be made up of a stack of cubes, each of which will function in the same way. This means that you could make a wall whatever size you choose in whatever location you choose, simply by adding more "cubes" (think of it as a giant version of a high-tech Lego wall).

How does the prototype work? First, a fan in the "air contactor" sucks in air molecules (only 1 in every 2,500 of which is CO2), which pass through the air contactor and come into contact with carbon-absorbent surfaces. Then the carbon molecules react, becoming a liquid that is eventually hardened into solid carbonate pellets (think: tiny white pebbles made of carbon). And, finally, high temperatures melt those pellets to release pure carbon dioxide, components of which can be used as fuel.

The most useful result of this technology will be carbon-neutral fuels.

Right now, scientists have built only one prototype unit, which functions in three steps. Photo via Carbon Engineering.

Right now, Carbon Engineering CEO Adrian Corless says that the carbon produced by this technology represents a negative emission. "You've taken it out of the atmosphere," he told Upworthy, "and that's cool because it could restore balance from a climate point of view."

And, eventually, you might be able to use the carbon-neutral fuel (produced by the wall) in your vehicle, reducing carbon emissions while keeping the carbon cycle balanced, too.

For now, this is a very cool idea still in its infancy, Corless says.

They have a prototype, but the next step will be to build a pilot plant that produces fuel (one unit can produce 40 million liters of fuel per year!). Corless says that, eventually, he'd like to see a wall of these prototype units erected in Squamish, too.

In the long term, these walls could also be installed anywhere folks have space — in extra fields or even in city parking lots — solving both the carbon problem and the fuel problem for our country.

Are you sold? Check out a video from the engineers themselves to learn more about the prototype and their plans for the future of carbon emissions:

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

woman laying on bed

I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Inattentive Type about three years ago—I was a fully functioning adult, married with children before finding out that my brain worked a bit differently. Of course I've known that I functioned a bit differently than my friends since childhood. The signs were there early on, but in the '80s diagnosing a girl with ADHD just wasn’t a thing that happened.

Much of the early criteria for ADHD was written based on how it presented in males, more specifically, white male children, and I was neither. Women like me are being diagnosed more and more lately and it’s likely because social media has connected us in a way that was lacking pre- doom scrolling days.

With the help of social media, women can connect with others who share the same symptoms that were once a source of shame. They can learn what testing to ask for and how to advocate for themselves while having an army of supporters that you’ve never met to encourage you along the way. A lot of women that are diagnosed later in life don’t want medication, they just want an answer. Finally having an answer is what nearly brought me to tears. I wasn’t lazy and forgetful because I didn’t care. I had a neurological disorder that severely impacted my ability to pay attention to detail and organize tasks from most important to least. Just having the answer was a game changer, but hearing that untreated ADHD can cause unchecked anxiety, which I had in spades, I decided to listen to my doctor and give medication a try.

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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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