Heroes

Parisians hug, touch, and cuddle with these giant blocks of ice — just like the artist wanted.

"Art has the ability to change our perceptions and perspectives on the world."

Parisians hug, touch, and cuddle with these giant blocks of ice — just like the artist wanted.
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Natural Resources Defense Council

Global leaders are now meeting in France for the COP21 climate change conference. The meeting is being held in Le Bourget, a suburb of Paris. Although, really, maybe it would be more appropriate to hold it on a melting iceberg, considering what they're discussing.

One artist, however, figured that if the leaders weren't going to go to Greenland, he'd just have to bring Greenland to them.

Olafur Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist, teamed up with Minik Rosing, a Danish geology professor and arctic researcher, to wrangle 12 mini-icebergs all the way from Nuuk, Greenland, to Paris' Latin Quarter, placing them on the world leaders' proverbial doorstep.


"Ice Watch: Paris" is what he's calling it.

The blocks were placed in a circle in the Place du Panthéon, a famous square outside of a mausoleum for French heroes and icons.



Not everyone gets to live in places with glaciers. Many people may have only ever seen glaciers on television. By giving people the chance to actually go see, taste, and touch a part of one, Eliasson hopes he can make their disappearance feel more visceral and real.

“As an artist I hope my works touch people, which in turn can make something that may have previously seemed quite abstract into reality. Art has the ability to change our perceptions and perspectives on the world and Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we are facing tangible. I hope it will inspire shared commitment to taking climate action." — Olafur Eliasson, IceWatchParis.com

The 12 mini-bergs were originally pieces of glacier that had fallen into the sea, where Eliasson and Rosing lassoed them up. A cargo ship then took them to Denmark in refrigerated containers, where they were loaded onto trucks for Paris.

At the time of capture, their combined weight was 100 metric tons (80 now that they've slimmed down during their trip). If that sounds like a lot, you should know it's minuscule compared to the 200 billion metric tons of glacial ice Greenland loses each year.

Greenland loses 1,000 blocks just like these per second.

And it's these glacial bergs that a lot of people are watching out for. Glaciers trap water up on land, away from the ocean. This keeps sea levels down. But when the glaciers break apart and do fall into the sea, well, it's like dumping ice cubes into a full glass of water. Things are going to overflow.

If this seems vaguely familiar, it's because this isn't the first time Eliasson has used ice to make a statement. He set up another Ice Watch installation in Copenhagen a few months ago.

Watch this video to see Eliasson and Rosing's team wrangling wild icebergs off the coast of Greenland.

Video from Bloomberg Philanthropies/YouTube.

Not everyone will get a chance to see "Ice Watch: Paris" before the blocks melt, but if you're serious about saving our glaciers, sign this petition from the NRDC to demand climate action from our world leaders. They'll present it at the Paris climate talks!

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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