Still don't think climate change matters? Here's how it's hitting people where it hurts.

Climate change is an issue that impacts all of us. However, despite numerous studies and experts declaring it's really and truly happening, many people still aren't taking the threat seriously.

The reasons people ignore climate change vary — it's inconvenient, not concrete enough for some to understand, or just down right terrifying.

But there's so much work to do and time is of the essence.


Thankfully, on a community level, more businesses and government officials are seeking to reduce our collective carbon footprint by advocating for sustainable practices and moving towards eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

And while it's great that these larger entities are doing their part, it doesn't mean we don't all have a role to play in the fight to save our planet. All life forms are suffering and will continue to suffer the consequences of our apathy towards climate change.  

Perhaps the problem is few folks understand the way that climate change impacts us on the individual level.

Too often we focus on the efforts and perspectives of experts. However, we can’t keep a “leave it to the professionals” mindset if we want to offset these rapidly accelerating effects.

But what if we could see more of ourselves in the issue?

One way to do that is to put a wider spectrum of voices in the spotlight and show the world how climate change in impacting them.

Our Climate Voice is one grassroots organization that hopes to make the consequences of climate change easier to understand while applying an intersectional lens.  

Per its mission statement, OCV seeks to make discussions about climate change less abstract and more inclusive.

"Our mission is to humanize the climate disaster through storytelling, contribute to a shift in the climate change dialogue that puts the voices of those most impacted at the forefront of the conversation, and to connect people with ways to support the community-based climate solution-making work that frontline and vulnerable communities are already doing to combat climate impacts."

For the past three years, they've been sharing people's first-person encounters with climate change to make things more real for the rest of us.

They feature people's stories in a way that we can hear those obstacles in connection with concrete data. They're also giving marginalized people of color a chance to tell their unique stories — and that means a ton.

Stories like Miko Vergun's, a climate activist — also one of 21 youth suing the Trump admin demanding they take climate change seriously. During her interview, she talks about how climate change limits her access to the outdoors, an activity she's enjoyed since childhood, along with the ways climate change and environmental racism have impacted individuals from the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, where she hails.

Climate change hits each one of us in different ways. It's intensified severe weather patterns, threatened food supplies, and swallowed islands whole. It also increases food security and similar obstacles for marginalized and indigenous groups.  

Other stories on OCV like Azaria Mendoza's discuss the way climate change and things like pollution and contaminated water limited their ability to enjoy just being a kid.

Stories like these remind us that climate change isn’t an abstract, apocalyptic tale. It’s here, now, and personal.

If we don’t start listening soon, there will be nothing left to fight for.  

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture