This is how El Niño is affecting California's devastating drought.

California's drought is far from over.

Death Valley hasn't looked all that much like death lately.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.


The California hotspot is the warmest, driest place in North America.

But from these gorgeous pics, you might not know it.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

That's because Death Valley is in the midst of a "superbloom."

It's exactly as what it sounds like.

Photo by Robyn Deck/AFP/Getty Images.

Every decade or so, the conditions are just right for this beautiful landscape to dwarf the typically barren, eastern California countryside.

But how can this be when we all know California is in a no-good, historic, can't-water-the-lawn drought right now?

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

It turns out El Niño — a weather pattern not generally known for leaving good news in its wake — had a bit of input this year.

The high amounts of rainfall resulted in this beautiful landscape:

Photo by Robyn Deck/AFP/Getty Images.

To give you a little perspective, Death Valley on average sees a mere two inches of rain a year. So while El Niño didn't bring weeklong downpours to California, it definitely dropped enough precious water for Death Valley to look a little less barren.

Beyond Death Valley, El Niño is making a mark on California, which is in critical need of some H2O.

The Golden State is facing a major water crisis. Its drought, which has plagued the state since 2011, is the worst in over a century. And an El Niño — which happens every few years, when a warming Pacific Ocean brings exceptionally wet and stormy winters to the West Coast — has meant much-needed relief to parts of Northern California.

Although El Niño is certainly not a weather pattern to celebrate — it's caused dangerous flooding in San Diego (not to mention complete devastation in many other regions of the world) — it's difficult for Californians to pass up a good rain shower.


If any place needed the water, it was Shasta Lake, near Redding, California.


Things are looking up for Folsom Dam, northwest of Sacramento, too.


Feeling left out, Lake Oroville has bulked up as well.


And the Sierra Mountains? They're a lot whiter than they were in 2015.


The Sacramento River is running wetter than it has been throughout much of the last several years.

But don't be fooled: California's drought is far from over. And El Niño has actually been a bit of a bust, all things considered.

Just ask the folks in SoCal.

Despite the cheery pics and tweets above, El Niño has been relatively disappointing thus far for Californians, particularly in the southern portion of the state (there could be an early spring miracle, but I wouldn't hold my breath).

While January brought welcomed wet weather, February was pretty much as dry as a bone.

A dying Joshua Tree in California. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

"This year so far we haven’t had anything to write home about in Southern California," Tony Barnston of the Institute for International Research on Climate and Society told Mashable last month. "It’s been near normal, which is not good enough."

The crisis in California is a bleak reminder that a warming planet means more water scarcity.

Although climate change isn't single-handedly to blame for the Golden State's water woes, research found there's little doubt it's definitely exacerbating the problem.

This was Folsom Lake reservoir back in September 2015, when it was standing at only 18% capacity. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

But California is far from a one-off situation. Climate change is altering eco-systems (on land and under water) basically everywhere. And that has meant more wildfires, economic losses in agriculture, and, of course, severe droughts affecting millions of people across the globe.

That's why World Water Day (March 22) is so crucial.

Launched by the United Nations in 1993, World Water Day is an annual event that draws attention to how communities around the world are affected by water-related issues.

It's a worthy cause because — regardless if you live in Southern California or Sub-Saharan Africa — water is a precious resource none of us should take for granted.

Learn more about how you can get involved in World Water Day here.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Culture