This glacier repeatedly melts and freezes in a new form. The results are stunning.
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If you follow "Game of Thrones," you know some scenes call for some pretty remote — not to mention freezing — locations.

I know, Jon Snow. I know. GIF via "Game of Thrones."

They look pretty majestic on screen, but one ice-cold location in particular looks even cooler in real life.


This is Vatnajökull, the largest glacier mass in all of Europe.

All images via Mikael Buck, used with permission.

Pretty spectacular, right? I mean, look at this place!

These incredible images were taken by British photographer Mikael Buck, who was the first to capture these stunning caves from the inside using a special sensor technology.

And he had to go through quite the trek just to get there.

"Accessing the best caves requires a two-hour hike each way over the glacier. To do this, you need to rope up to your hiking partners, carry an ice axe and wear crampons," Buck wrote in an email.

A local guide, Einar Rúnar Sigurðsson, made the journey possible and helped Buck go deep into the glacier in order to access the most impressive ice caves.

Because the caves can only be accessed during winter — daylight hours are limited — they had to race time to get the images Buck wanted and get back while it was still light.

But when Buck actually set foot inside the ice caves, it was pure magic.

"Entering the caves for the first time, you step into a dark hole and suddenly you are in an alien landscape. It was unlike anything I've seen before and the colours are just as vivid in real life as in the images," wrote Buck.

"The shapes and textures where the water has slowly eroded parts of the ice are amazing. If we had the time I could have happily spent hours in there staring at all the cracks and crevasses."

The caves presented some unusual challenges though.

"Inside the ice caves themselves, things can get very claustrophobic," Buck added. "At one point I was on my hands and knees crawling under the ice above in order to get to another part of the cave."

"Game of Thrones" filmed in the surrounding areas and not inside the actual caves (maybe because they would look better for an alien movie). But even if they had, the cave they would've shot then is different from the way it looks today.

You see, the appearance of Vatnajökull is constantly changing.

"Each summer, the ice moves and new caves form and old ones collapse and are never seen again," explained Buck. "The caves themselves are formed where water runs off from the surrounding slopes and into the sides of the glacier."

The sheer magnitude and beauty of these ice caves put things into perspective for Buck.

"It was an awe inspiring trip and an experience I won't be forgetting in a hurry," he said.

"As with any trip to somewhere so wild and remote, the concerns of life in the city and the world of work seem pretty trivial on your return."

As beautiful as these morphing formations may be, they may not be around forever.

Glaciologist Oddur Sigurðsson has been very outspoken about the significant shrinking that Icelandic glaciers have undergone in the past 20 years. The culprit? You guessed it: climate change.

"The caves themselves are not formed as a result of climate change, but the glacier itself is rapidly retreating," noted Buck. "Our guide pointed out the distance the glacier had retreated in his lifetime and it was quite staggering."

At the current rate the world is going, these glaciers may be completely wiped out in 200 years.

That means we would lose one of Earth's most amazing natural wonders just like that.

These images are breathtaking, but they also paint a bigger picture.

Fortunately, some necessary steps are being taken to save these marvels for future generations. The Kolviður Fund, for instance, has made it their mission to reduce CO2 emissions in Iceland by improving their forest ecosystems. By planting more trees strategically, they hope to offset the CO2 emissions generated by cars and flights and preserve the glaciers.

And works such as Buck's photo series are able to shine a light on this important cause. By spotlighting just how magnificent these remote locations are, people can better understand their value to the world and just how worth saving they really are.

So yes, winter may be coming. But in this particular case, we hope it's here to stay.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


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Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

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Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.