Scientists just outlined a 'dire scenario' for the future. Here's how to prevent it.

Antarctica's ice sheet is melting at a rate that's becoming more and more frightening.

In new research published in the latest issues of Nature, a group of scientists report that "the melt rate has tripled in the past decade." From 2012 to 2017, Antarctica lost 219 billion tons of ice annually due to rising ocean temperatures.


Experts believe that humans may have no more than a decade to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid the devastating effects of climate change.

In what's referred to as "the dire scenario," ocean waters could rise as high as half a meter by 2070.

If the temperature rises about 3.5 degrees celsius (which is considered more than catastrophic by the United Nations), the Antarctic Ocean would become inhospitable to the shelled creatures that live there, entire industries — especially fishing — would be disrupted, wildlife would die in large numbers, and it would create undoable damage to coasts and property. In fact, many places in the world are already experiencing some of these effects, along with record heat and extreme weather.

Yikes, right?

Here's the thing: We've known for a long time that the ice in and around the coldest continent on Earth has been melting faster than it should, but scientists say we have some time — even if not a lot — to change.

Some progress has been made: The ozone hole is healing, more green buildings are being built, and more and more new renewable energy laws are being passed around the world.

But experts insist that as citizens of this planet, we can and must do more.

Though there's not much that can be done about the ice that's already melted, researchers say if governments and citizens work together we can slow the effects of global warming. But it can't be something we put off until tomorrow.

Yes, the "dire scenario" is terrifying, but there's also hope.

The earth can survive many things. It has before. Instead, the question we must ask is: How long the planet will be habitable for humans and animals if we don't work harder to take care of it?

If governments continue to work together to reduce air pollution, the Antarctica that will exist in 2070 could look pretty similar to how it does right now. And without the dramatic rise in temperature, some species would still lose numbers, but others would adapt, meaning the damage would be less severe.

That's why we all need to do our part to save the planet. It's not just the only one currently fit for human life — it's our home. And the blows that climate change has already dealt should be a call to action.

Call your representatives, vote for greener initiatives in local elections, make sure that your voice is heard when climate change is discussed by the people around you. Go as green as you can, every day. Here are just a few ideas!

Your individual efforts might feel small, but our collective action could lead to huge positive consequences.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Maybe it's because I'm a writer, but I'm a bit of a pen snob. Even if I'm just making a list, I look for a pen that grips well, flows well, doesn't put too much or too little ink into the paper, is responsive-but-not-too-responsive to pressure, and doesn't suddenly stop working mid-stroke.

In other words, the average cheap ballpoint pen is out. (See? Snob.)

However, Oscar Ukono is making me reevaluate my pen snobbery. Because while I'm over here turning up my nose at the basic Bic, he's using them to create things like this:

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less