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.  

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less
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