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This artist is showcasing a new form of graffiti to shed light on deforestation.

"When you cut down a tree, it's like putting down a man."

When Philippe Echaroux, a French street artist, heard about how deforestation is affecting the Surui tribe in the Brazilian Amazon, he decided to throw a massive spotlight on it — literally.

One of several portraits of Surui tribe members. Photo by Philippe Echaroux, used with permission.

He did this by creating portraits of Surui tribe members, then projecting them in light, using the Amazon as his canvas. He calls this method of painting trees with light Street Art 2.0 because it goes beyond spray-painting a wall; it allows him to put a powerful message anywhere without doing any damage and take it down as quickly as he put it up.


In this case, the project's message is as simple and powerful as the portraits themselves. As Echaroux explains: "When you cut down a tree, it's like putting down a man."

He chose members of the Surui tribe as the focus of the project because the tribe is being directly affected by deforestation.

Photo by Philippe Echaroux, used with permission.

How bad is deforestation in Brazil? Here's what parts of the Brazilian Amazon look like today:

Northern Brazil. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images.

For the Surui tribe, whose reserve is about the size of Rhode Island, the fight for land is often unfair — going back to 1969, when the Brazilian government lured them out of their rainforest home, according to the Washington Post. That infringement on the Surui's land caused disease to spread, food supplies to dwindle, and homes to be destroyed, all of which resulted in a population drop from 5,000 to just above 250.

The tribe has been fighting to preserve what little of their rainforest habitat it has left ever since. Today, that means trying to stop illegal logging — one of the main causes of deforestation in Brazil, according to Scientific American.

In 2007, the current Surui chief, Almir Narayamoga Surui, launched an innovative and high-tech plan to curtail illegal logging.

Photo by Philippe Echaroux, used with permission.

The tribe, whose population has rebounded to 1,350, uses Google Earth to monitor such illegal activity and report it to the authorities, ABC News reported. But 1,500 square miles of rainforest is rather expansive for one small tribe to keep tabs on, so, despite their best efforts, deforestation continues to eat away at their land.

That's why, Echaroux says, Chief Almir called on him to bring Street Art 2.0 to the Amazon, where his art "could help them be known, and make their difficulties known too."

The message Echaroux is illuminating on the Amazon is meant to make the world realize deforestation is an epidemic, and that the Surui are some of its human victims.

Photo by Philippe Echaroux, used with permission.

We lose 46,000-58,000 square miles of forest each year.

That's about 48 football fields every minute, according to the World Wildlife Fund. In that way, there couldn't be a more perfect medium for this artistic call to action.

Photo by Philippe Echaroux, used with permission.

This is the first time Echaroux has used his work to elevate an environmental issue, and he hopes the message inspires people to constructively help curtail deforestation efforts.

Photo by Philippe Echaroux, used with permission.

There are a lot of ways you can do this in your daily life, whether it's making a concerted effort to eat and use more local and sustainable foods (here's a handy guide for how to find them) or reducing your wood consumption as much as possible (and when you do have to buy paper, buying the kind with the highest recyclable content).

If you want to help the Surui directly, you can go to their website and sign a petition to stop illegal logging in the Brazilian Amazon. Or if you want to learn how to help the other indigenous tribes affected by deforestation in the Amazon, Survival International is a great resource. The fight to preserve the rainforests is an ongoing battle for many indigenous tribes, and it's one that shows no signs of slowing. They need all the help they can get to protect their resources and homes.

The Surui may be one small tribe, but their conservation struggle is emblematic of cultures the world over. Hopefully these brightly lit creations will help make that abundantly clear.

Science

Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these stories as an invitation to do better?

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There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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Two couples move in together with their kids to create one big, loving 'polyfamory'

They are using their unique family arrangement to help people better understand polyamory.

The Hartless and Rodgers families post together


Polyamory, a lifestyle where people have multiple romantic or sexual partners, is more prevalent in America than most people think. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, and one in six say they would like to try one.

However popular the idea is, polyamory is misunderstood by a large swath of the public and is often seen as deviant. However, those who practice it view polyamory as a healthy lifestyle with several benefits.

Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

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Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

“She's broken my mind. I don't even understand what I'm not understanding."

PA Struggles/Youtube

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So what about the other 50-70%? What exactly goes on inside their heads from day to day?

In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

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