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Rosa Parks and the power of refusing to move.

60 years ago, on Dec. 1, 1965, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white rider on a Montgomery bus and sat her way right into the history books. We all know the story.

Image via Lauren/Picasaweb.


Many of us have taken plenty of feel-good lessons from it about being brave and taking a stand. Most of the lessons focus on the huge impact of her seemingly small action. But there's also an important life lesson to be learned from the action itself.

Rosa Parks sparked a movement by refusing to move.

Sometimes, choosing to sit still is the most impactful action we can take. Sometimes what starts the movement that we so desperately need is actually our refusal to be moved.

It seems so counterintuitive. We've been taught that to change things, we must exert energy, we must fight inertia, and somehow force things to change with our movement — by tearing things down with brute force or, in some cases, running the other direction. So how can stillness actually spark radical change?


Photo via Joel Nilsson/Wikimedia Commons.

I once went to a yoga class where the mantra was "I am like the sun. I am big, I am bright, and I will not be moved."

It was based on the premise that all the other planets revolve around the sun, the center of our galaxy. I loved this idea and said it to myself every time I needed to feel grounded and resolute, confident that despite the chaos whirling around me, I did not have to move. I could stand peacefully and firm, like the immovable sun, in who I was and what I believed.

I held on to that mantra for quite awhile — until I discovered that the sun actually does move. It's just considerably harder to recognize and see the movement because of its relation to all the planets spinning around it. In other words, even when the sun looks like it isn't moving, it is.

Ready to get deep? Go with me here.

Rosa Parks was the sun that day.

In her refusal to move seats, she appeared to be still even though a huge, important shift really was taking place. As a result, she forced others to move around her. White bus patrons, police, supporters, society, and ultimately, the law.

Photo via piper60/Pixabay.

It's clear to see how that lesson relates to activism and social change. Time and time again, from sit-ins at lunch counters and college campuses, to die-ins on the floor of city hall, we've seen how the act of being seemingly still and not moving from the scene of injustice can disrupt and ultimately transform unjust systems.

But what if we also applied that principle to our own lives?

So often we believe that in order to make dramatic change, in order to be treated how we deserve to be treated, we have to be the ones to metaphorically move; to change something about ourselves.

We frantically move in the face of difficulty, disrespect, or opposition: We quit the job, we relocate, we lessen our demands, we adjust our appearances, expectations, or approach, we "fall back" to avoid the confrontation.

But if we're honest, oftentimes our actions are the same thing as moving to the back of the bus. We believe that if we are quiet, if we are accommodating, if we do what is asked of us, if we remove ourselves from the situation entirely, we will either win the respect of those who stand in our way or at the very least, we will make our lives easier.

Ultimately, we do this because we are afraid of the consequences of being ourselves, standing in our truth, and taking up the space that we deserve.

But what if we finally recognized that the cost of moving is actually greater to our identity and our souls than the cost of refusing to move — no matter how scary the immediate consequences may be?

What if the critical behavior change that will win us our freedom is finally breaking the pattern of adjusting, accommodating, and moving in the face of opposition?

What if we behaved like the sun? What if by "not moving" we were actually shifting not only our own perspective but everything around us?

Sounds good, right? But lessons like this are often easier said than done.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

How do you know when refusing to move is the right action to take?

Well, here are some tips, straight from Rosa's playbook:

Refuse to move ... when you have a plan. Despite the children's storybook version of events ("Rosa Parks spontaneously decided that she was too tired to move out of her seat!"), we now know that her action that day was about as strategic as it gets. She was not the first to refuse her seat, but it had been decided that this was the moment for someone to try again — and that she was the right person to do it. The NAACP knew that Rosa's arrest would be the example that best allowed for a successful court case.

You should always think about the impact that standing firm and refusing to move could make and plan for how you will deal with the consequences, regardless of which way it turns out.

Refuse to move ... when you've done everything else and you're tired. There's a myth that Rosa Parks was tired after having worked a long day and that her physical fatigue is why she refused to stand. The truth is that she was indeed tired, but not the way most people think. From her 1992 autobiography "Rosa Parks, My Story":

"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Parks' response to the system of segregation did not begin on the bus that day. She had marched and protested many times before, but on that day, she knew that only a pure act of defiance would spur the change that needed to take place. The same could be true for you. If you have adjusted and changed and run and objected enough times, refusing to move might just be the ultimate act, not only of defiance, but of freedom.

Refuse to move ... when it is morally right. Sitting in her seat wasn't just a randomly selected act of protest. It was, above all, right. Rosa had principle on her side. And there is no better reason to refuse to move than when principles, values, and morals support your presence and your position.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Rosa Parks' action will, of course, be remembered forever as one of courage and will, an act that sparked a turning point in the American civil rights movement.

But it should also be an action that we turn to repeatedly as a reminder of the power of not giving in, of being still.

She showed us that great things can happen when we stay on the bus and refuse to be moved. You, me, and the sun, we rise each morning with the same possibility and power. And we, too, can change the world.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Angelina Jordan blew everyone away with her version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody."




At Upworthy, we've shared a lot of memorable "America's Got Talent" auditions, from physics-defying dance performances to jaw-dropping magic acts to heart-wrenching singer-songwriter stories. Now we're adding Angelina Jordan's "AGT: The Champions" audition to the list because wow.

Jordan came to "AGT: The Champions" in 2020 as the winner of Norway's Got Talent, which she won in 2014 at the mere age of 7 with her impressive ability to seemingly channel Billie Holiday. For the 2020 audition, she sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," but a version that no one had ever heard before.

With just her Amy Winehouse-ish voice, a guitar and a piano, Jordan brought the fan-favorite Queen anthem down to a smooth, melancholy ballad that's simply riveting to listen to.


Especially considering that Jordan was only 13 years old when she did this.

Watch:

What this video doesn't show is Heidi Klum hitting the Golden Buzzer faster than you can say, "Nothing really matters to me." The judges were blown away by Jordan's performance, as were the people in the comments.

"That's a ONE in A BILLION voice right there. Just amazing," wrote one commenter.

"I am typically not a fan of songs being redone particular to such a magnitude," shared another. "They almost always fall short of the original. But to completely rearrange a song in the manner that she has, from a legend, and then make you forget about how the original even sounded because her rendition is so good is utterly amazing."

"As Freddie once said, 'Do whatever you want with my music as long as you don't make it boring.' I think he'd really like this," shared another.

Though Queen's lead vocalist Freddie Mercury is no longer with us, the band did offer words of praise for Jordan's performance, retweeting her audition video with the comment, "Wow! What a rendition of #BohemianRhapsody."

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is such an iconic song, it's hard for anyone to do a cover of it justice. But 13-year-old Angelina Jordan managed it masterfully.

Jordan would move on to the Top 10 in "AGT: The Champions," and though she didn't take home the top prize, she did impress the audience with another classic rock tune, Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." You can enjoy that performance below, and you can follow Angelina Jordan—who is now 17 and still singing her heart out—on YouTube and TikTok.

Become Angelina's patron at Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/angelinajordanThis performance on Angelina Jordan's TikTok - https://www.tiktok.com/@angelinajor...


This article originally appeared on 9.30.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Health

Studies reveal women don't react to sexual harassment the way they imagine they would

Most women predict they'd feel angry and confront the harasser, but that's not how real-life scenarios played out.

When it comes to sexual harassment, imagined reactions play out differently in real life.

It's easy to imagine what we'd do or how we'd respond to imaginary scenarios, playing the hero in an emergency, speaking up when we witness an injustice or confronting someone who mistreats us.

Real life, however, can feel different than we expect it to as emotions and fight-or-flight chemicals flood our minds and bodies.

Two studies illustrate this reality when it comes to responding to sexual harassment, finding that imagined responses don't tend to play out in real-life harassment scenarios.


A 2002 study published by Julie A. Woodzicka and Marianne LaFrance in the Journal of Social Issues examined the way women anticipated they would respond to sexual harassment in imagined scenarios vs. how women respond when facing a real sexual harassment scenario in a job interview and found that the two did not match up.

Psychologist Kaidi W, Ph.D. shared excerpts from the study on X, illustrating the study's key findings.

Setting up a real sexual harassment scenario posed an ethical dilemma for the study design, as they couldn't create severe harassment without the subjects knowing. They created a job interview that participants thought was real and had the male interviewer intersperse three sexually intrusive questions amidst regular questions:

"Do you have a boyfriend?"

"Do people find you desirable?"

"Do you think it's important for women to wear bras to work?"

When presented with such questions in an imagined scenario, women shared how they predicted they'd respond. "The most prominent emotion women imagined they'd feel was anger (27%), while fear was rarely mentioned (2%)," Wu wrote. "62% of women said they'd confront the interviewer. 68% said they'd refuse to answer at least one harassing questions."

However, when the researchers set up the job interview, women facing the questions in real life reacted very differently. None of them refused to answer all the questions, none confronted the interviewer, none left the interview, and none reported the harasser to the supervisor.

Notably, the most prominent emotion women experienced in the real scenario was fear. "Simply put, women imagined feeling angry, but women in the situation were actually afraid," the authors wrote.

"It is noteworthy that the self-reports of being afraid were not due merely to actually being in an interview situation in contrast to an imagined interview situation," the authors added. "For when we compared interviewees in the sexually harassing interview to those who got the surprising but nonharassing questions, we found that women who were asked harassing questions reported feeling significantly more afraid than did their nonharassed counterparts."

Another finding was that women facing the harassing questions exhibited more non-Duchenne smiling (basically feigning a smile) than the others. Non-Duchenne smiling is associated with accommodation or appeasement as opposed to genuine pleasure. The authors suggest that the women may have been smiling in such a manner to signal that they were "willing to play by the rules so that they could get out of that place."

Another study from 2023 also found a gap between how people think they'd respond to a sexually harassing situation vs. how they actually do.

A study by the University of Exeter, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, found that people who imagined a sexual harassment scenario predicted that they would feel a strong need to take formal action, such as reporting the harassment to authorities.

But people who had actually experienced harassment shared different needs that often overrode the need for immediate justice

Senior author Manuela Barreto, from the University of Exeter said: “We found there is a widely held belief that quick and formal reporting is the correct response to sexual harassment. It’s what’s generally meant with the phrase ‘coming forward.' Yet most people who are sexually harassed do not report it formally and those who do, often report the offence a significant time after it happened."

“There is an assumption that those who experience sexual harassment are primarily guided by their desire for justice," shared lead author Thomas Morton of the University of Copenhagen who worked on the research at the University of Exeter. "But this research shows that peoples’ needs are wider than what others might expect, and include needs for safety, personal control, and for life to just return to normal. Of all the needs that people expressed, the need for justice was not the highest priority. This might explain why people don’t take the kind of formal actions, like reporting to police, that others expect them to."

"If you have not experienced sexual harassment, it is hard to accurately anticipate what you might need, and therefore what you would do to satisfy those needs," Morton added. "Our research suggests that the assumptions people make are often wrong, or at least don’t reflect what the people who have experienced sexual harassment say they need.”

The Me Too movement brought needed awareness to how often women face sexual harassment, but it also raised a lot of questions about why women don't confront or come forward to report it. These studies are a good reminder that we don't truly know how we are going to feel or respond until we are facing a real-life scenario ourselves, so we can't truly judge how another person handles an experience with sexual harassment. They also help us expand our understanding of how easy it is to underestimate fear and a sense of security as primary motivating factors in our responses, even if we are convinced our righteous anger and justice will override them.




116 years ago, the Pasterze glacier in the Austria's Eastern Alps was postcard perfect:

Snowy peaks. Windswept valleys. Ruddy-cheeked mountain children in lederhosen playing "Edelweiss" on the flugelhorn.

But a lot has changed since 1900.

Much of it has changed for the better! We've eradicated smallpox, Hitler is dead, and the song "Billie Jean" exists now.

On the downside, the Earth has gotten a lot hotter. A lot hotter.

The 15 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. July 2016 was the planet's hottest month — ever.

Unsurprisingly, man-made climate change has wreaked havoc on the planet's glaciers — including the Pasterze, which is Austria's largest.

Just how much havoc are we talking about? Well...


A series of stunning photos, published in August, show just how far the glacier has receded since its heyday.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

First measured in 1851, the glacier lost half of its mass between that year and 2008.

The glacier today.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

A marker placed in 1985 shows where the edge of the glacier reached just 31 years ago. You can still see the ice sheet, but just barely, way off in the distance. In between is ... a big, muddy lake.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

The view from the glacial foot marker from 1995 — 10 years later — isn't much more encouraging.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Even in just one year, 2015, the glacier lost an astounding amount of mass — 177 feet, by some estimates.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Ice continues to melt daily, and while the dripping makes for a good photo, it's unfortunate news for planet Earth. Glacial melting is one of the three primary causes of sea-level rise.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

According to a European Environment Agency report, the average temperature in the Alps has increased 2 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years — double the global average.

Beautiful, but ominous, fissures in the glacier.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

It's not unreasonable to assume that that's why this mountain hut has been abandoned by the flugelhorn-playing children who once probably lived in it.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Is there anything we can do to stop climate change besides look at scary glacier photos?

Climate change is, unfortunately, still a robust debate in the United States as many of our elected officials refuse to acknowledge that we humans are the ones doing the changing. As of last year, that list included a whopping 49 senators. Calling them to gently persuade them otherwise would be helpful. Not voting for them if they don't change their minds would be even more so.

There is some tentative good news — the Paris Agreement signed in December 2015 commits 197 countries, including the U.S., to take steps to limit future global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. While it may be too late for the Pasterze glacier, if we really commit as a world, we might be able to stop ourselves from sinking whole countries and turning Miami into a swimming pool and stuff like that.

And who knows, with a little luck, and a little more not poisoning the sky, we just might recapture a little of that Alpine magic one day.

OK, these guys are Swiss. But who's counting?

Photo by Cristo Vlahos/Wikimedia Commons.

This article originally appeared on 3.11.17

On the other side of that aggression was a just a kitty wanting to be loved.

Cats in general are too often mislabeled with unsavory personality traits, but rescue cats really suffer the consequences of being misunderstood. When they hiss, growl or even scratch at their rescuer, it’s sometimes assumed that aggression is just their regular disposition, rather than a fear response. But when given consistent reassurance and a whole lotta patience, even the crabbiest kitty can transform into a sweet cuddlebug.

Just take Bruno’s word for it.

According to his rescuer Grace, Bruce was the “most challenging” cat she had ever dealt with when it came to aggression.


According to his rescuer Grace, Bruce was the “most challenging” cat she had ever dealt with when it came to aggression.

In a video posted to her TikTok account, titled @kittyboyandfriends, we see exactly when she means as Bruno ferociously swipes at Grace’s hand when she opens his carrier.

“He was so untrusting of humans, but desperate for love,” her onscreen text reads.

We see this inner conflict as well, as poor Bruno cautiously approaches Grace for a pet while offering a warning hiss at the same time. The anguish is palpable.

Grace was determined not to give up Bruce, and it paid off. Slowly but surely, Bruce softened. He started approaching Grace for love—no bites attached.

And then, after a month, Bruce was transformed “into the most loving affectionate boy.”

Watch:

@kittyboyandfriends “Aggressive” Bruno’s 1-month Transformation 💫 It’s so hard to believe that this is the same cat I brought home. The first few weeks with Bruno were overwhelming. I felt hopeless at times. Even with my experience with feral & aggressive cats, Bruno has been the most challenging by far. But with love, time and patience, we uncovered a gentle soul just craving love and affection. We still have some work ahead of us, as he occasionally gets triggered, but I am so incredibly proud of how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time 🥰 A big thank you to #FurboForGood for making this video possible and generously donating to The Happy Kitty Rescue! I am so grateful for their support and the impact they’re making in the whole rescue community. Every purchase made with Furbo helps improve the well-being of rescued pets by providing meals, shelter, training, and more. I’ve especially loved having our Furbo Cat Camera to capture all our precious moments and keep an eye on the babies when I’m not home. Thank you, @Furbo Pet Camera ♬ original sound - Grace

Nowadays Bruce can be seen cuddling up on Grace’s chest. There’s still work to be done, and moments where he gets triggered, but Grace is nonetheless “incredibly proud” of how far he’s come.

Down in the comments, people were equally amazed.

“The way his whole face changed as he started to trust you,” one person wrote.

Many noted how many “aggressive” cats like Bruno are really just scared, and in need of more love.

“Hisses get kisses NEVER FAILS. Some cats take days, some weeks, some months but it always wins,” one person declared.

Another echoed, “Deep down I think no animal is really ‘aggressive,’they were just not treated right.”

Many wrote “to be loved is to be changed,” a popular phrase conveying the transformative power love has on rescue animals.

There are multiple ways to make the transition period a little smoother for rescue cats, primarily by establishing a routine, respecting boundaries and providing positive reinforcement. But really it just comes down to having enough patience to see it through. But these creatures are so, so worth it.

Science

Drones fired ‘seed missiles’ into the dirt. A year later, the trees are already 20 inches tall.

10 drones can plant 400,000 trees in a day — enough to combat climate change in real time.

Photo: courtesy BioCarbon Engineering/WikiCommons

Technology is the single greatest contributor to climate change but it may also soon be used to offset the damage we've done to our planet since the Industrial Age began.

In September 2018, a project in Myanmar used drones to fire "seed missiles" into remote areas of the country where trees were not growing. Less than a year later, thousands of those seed missiles have sprouted into 20-inch mangrove saplings that could literally be a case study in how technology can be used to innovate our way out of the climate change crisis.


"We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions," Irina Fedorenko, co-founder of Biocarbon Engineering, told Fast Company. "We are now ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success."

According to Fedoranko, just two operators could send out a mini-fleet of seed missile planting drones that could plant 400,000 trees a day -- a number that quite possibly could make massive headway in combating the effects of manmade climate change.

The drones were designed by an ex-NASA engineer. And with a pressing need to reseed an area in Myanmar equal to the size of Rhode Island, the challenge is massive but suddenly within reach. Bremley Lyngdoh, founder and CEO of World Impact, says reseeding that area could theoretically house as many as 1 billion new trees.

"Obviously, planting a billion trees will take a long time without the help of drones," Lyngdoh told Fast Company.

But they've now got a powerful new ally in their corner. For context, it took the Worldview Foundation 7 years to plant 6 million trees in Myanmar. Now, with the help of the drones, they hope to plant another 4 million before the end of 2019.


Myanmar is a great case study for the project. In addition to the available land for the drone project, the nation has been particularly hit by the early effects of climate change in recent years. Rising sea levels are having a measurable impact on the population. In addition to their ability to clear CO2 from the atmosphere, healthy trees can also help solidify the soil, which can reduce the kind of soil erosion that has been affecting local populations in Myanmar.


Going forward, technologies like seed-planting drones could help stem the tide of catastrophic climate change while our governments and societies work to change the habits of consumers and corporations that are driving the problem. Our endless hunger for new technology may be the driving force behind climate change and deforestation but it could also end up being the solution to a problem.


This article originally appeared on 4.17.19