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via National Geographic

Nat Geo's 'Year in Pictures 2021'

Even though 2021 was a year marred by a global pandemic, National Geographic still found a way to add 2 million photos to its vast archives this year. The publication is commemorating the tremendous work its photographers have done in 2021 by sharing some of their most remarkable shots in the January issue as part of its Year in Pictures campaign.

National Geographic hopes its readers will see it as more than “a collection of pretty photographs,” Whitney Johnson, director of visuals and immersive experiences, told National Geographic.

The images were chosen as powerful examples of human resilience in the face of a pandemic and climate crisis.

“In many ways, there are messages of hope, there are messages of compassion for one and another,” said Kathy Moran, deputy director of photography at National Geographic. “A number of the images featured show that there is hope, resilience, and there are solutions to many of the problems that we are facing as a society.”

National Geographic was kind enough to share some photos with Upworthy that embody 2021’s turbulence—from political rancor and climate change to COVID-19 developments and conflicts around the globe.

You can see more images on its Year in Pictures site. (You just have to provide your email.)


Dar Yasin/AP PHOTO

With a cooler of COVID-19 vaccines in hand, Nazir Ahmed looks for shepherds and nomadic herders in the meadows of Tosamaidan, southwest of Srinagar in the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir. In the race to vaccinate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, healthcare workers have gone to extreme lengths to reach remote communities.

From Srinagar, it took Ahmed and a half dozen colleagues three hours driving and then walking to reach this isolated spot. They spent four hours searching for people and vaccinated more than 10.

Photo by Lynsey Addario

Firefighters spent months in 2021 battling to contain California's Dixie fire, which burned nearly a million acres and destroyed most of Greenville, a town with population of around 1000. The number and size of wildfires across western North America have increased in recent years, driven in part by climate change, which intensifies hot, dry conditions that suck water from living and dead plants, making them likelier to burn.

Part of the solution, scientists agree, is more widespread use of "good" fire: controlled, low-intensity burns that clear leaf litter and brush from the forest floor, reducing the fuel for wildfires.

Photo by Mel D. Cole

Police officer Michael Fanone struggles against Trump supporters after they dragged him down the steps of the U.S. Capitol. At a rally earlier that day, then President Donald Trump falsely claimed that he'd won the 2020 presidential election "in a landslide" and urged supporters to go to the Capitol, where the House of Representatives was certifying the election results.

"You'll never take back our country with weakness," Trump said. Five people died as a result of the attack. Some 140 police officers were injured. More than 600 people have been arrested. The assault on the Capitol is the focus of a congressional investigation.

Reuben Wu/National Geographic

Stonehenge, built some 5,000 years ago in southern England, first underwent conservation work in 1901 after one of the sarsens and its lintel fell—a concern for public safety. Preservation this past September involved repairing cracks and repacking joints with mortar to stabilize the stones and protect them from erosion.

Two months earlier, a judge had ruled that plans to move the nearby highway underground to reduce traffic and noise were unlawful, suspending a project many archaeologists worried would destroy undiscovered artifacts. Photographer Reuben Wu layered 11 exposures taken over 30 minutes to create the lighting effects in this image.

Photo by Kiana Hayeri

The U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, after a 20-year occupation, ended what’s been called America’s longest modern war. But the war there goes on for Hafiza, 70, seen here. She has lived near the city of Faizabad since the Taliban took over her home village in 2019.

Her sons’ choices leave Hafiza grieved and on uncertain ground: Two of them fought with the Afghan National Army, one with a militia and one with the Taliban. The fighting in Afghanistan was among dozens of ongoing conflicts around the world in 2021—recent to ancient, international to regional, stoked by greed, creed or history.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Science

Dyslexic plumber gets a life-changing boost after his friend built an app that texts for him

It uses AI to edit his work emails into "polite, professional-sounding British English."

via Pixabay

An artist's depiction of artificial intelligence.

There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

The topic of AI is complex, but we can all agree that a new story from England shows how AI can certainly be used for the betterment of humanity. It was first covered by Tom Warren of BuzzFeed News.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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