+
Most Shared

This little town decided to go green. And they did it without the government.

'By working together, we eliminated that feeling of being an environmental pressure group. Instead we made it normal to talk about energy savings.'

Welcome to Ashton Hayes — the small English town that's casually leading the way toward carbon neutrality.

Photo via Garry Charnock. Used with permission.

"Carbon neutrality" is a fancy way of saying that Ashton Hayes is working toward reducing its carbon footprint until it produces as much energy as it uses.  


Upon first glance, Ashton Hayes may seem like any other countryside town, but when you take a closer look, you start to notice solar panels on roofs, clothes drying outside on clotheslines, and houses with glazed windows designed to improve insulation.

It might not sound like much, but these community efforts have effectively reduced the town's greenhouse emissions by approximately 40% in just 10 years.

The idea to make carbon neutrality a community-wide mission was planted by Ashton Hayes resident Garry Charnock, a former journalist and hydrologist.

He was attending a lecture at the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts, which called for the audience to think about what they could do to help curb climate change. While he said he was skeptical about a single individual being able to make any sort of significant impact, he wondered if his town as a whole could.

Photo via Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project, used with permission.

Charnock asked the town's parish council if they would support a community-wide carbon neutrality pledge. On Jan. 26, 2006, in the presence of 60% of the town's adults (and a large percentage of the children as well), the idea was publicly proposed and accepted.

Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project Launch in January, 2006. Photo courtesy of Garry Charnock.

Just like that, the people of Ashton Hayes took one significant step toward a greener future.

Members of the community started implementing small changes in their daily lives to promote carbon neutrality, and slowly but surely, their greenhouse emissions have shrunk.

They saved energy by turning things powered by electricity off as much as possible, switching to LED bulbs, relying on heat and air conditioning sparingly, walking more, and using public transport.

According to Charnock, they cut their emissions by 20% in the first year by doing so.

When neighbors started sharing what solutions were working for them, the ideas grew in size and scope. Soon, solar panels began to pop up all over town.

Photo via Garry Charnock, used with permission.

Community members, like Kate Harrison, are seeing their energy bills plummet, but even more exciting is how this collaboration has unified the town under one common goal. "What I really enjoyed was getting together with other people and talking about what we did," Harrison says in a video on Ashton Hayes' carbon neutrality project.

Community cohesion has increased significantly since the carbon neutrality mission was adopted. One reason for this, Charnock suggests, is that the carbon neutrality mission was created by and for the people in the town, without the influence or direction of politicians (who are only allowed to listen at meetings if they attend).

Photo via Garry Charnock, used with permission.

There were never any community-wide mandates to contribute to the cause — just neighbors inspiring each other to make an effort here and there.

"We also felt that by working together, we eliminated that feeling of being an environmental pressure group. Instead we made it normal to talk about energy savings," Charnock wrote in an email.

The children of Ashton Hayes are also incredibly involved in the town's work to reduce its carbon footprint.

Photo via Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project, used with permission.

"The primary school has been a catalyst for the project," Charnock wrote. "All our major meetings are held there and the kids always do a project that they demonstrate to the public."

Aside from harboring an active eco-team, the school's roof is made entirely of community-funded PV panels (photovoltaic solar panels), which in turn have helped the building become carbon negative between the months of May and September.

Involving the children in the project gives the next generation a firsthand look at just how simple it can be to reduce one's carbon footprint and have a real impact on the community overall.

With Ashton Hayes' efforts proving so effective, other towns have gotten in touch to ask for advice on how to start similar initiatives. Ashton Hayes is only too happy to help.

People from Ashton Hayes have given talks to over 150 communities in the United Kingdom alone on their work to lower emissions and they've made award-winning videos that've reached many more.  

Photo via Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project, used with permission.

According to the detailed diary on the Ashton Hayes town website that chronicles their progress, they've been contacted by towns all over the world that are looking for ways to lower their own carbon footprint. Little by little, the Ashton Hayes carbon neutrality movement is picking up steam.

With the onslaught of alarmist news about how harmful climate change is becoming and all the things we've done wrong up to this point, the mission to try to turn things around for the planet can often feel hopeless. When you look at a town like Ashton Hayes and see all that its members have accomplished in just 10 years, however, it's clear that hopelessness is far from true.

Sure, Ashton Hayes is just one small town, but imagine if every small town the world over followed in its footsteps. Sometimes all it takes is one simple, well-implemented idea to start a powerful trend that could change everything.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less