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Natural Resources Defense Council

It's no big secret that our planet's heating up.

You can tell just by looking at the average temperatures over the last hundred years.

There's also the fact that, oh yeah, Greenland is literally melting.


Yup, that's a puddle of melted ice. Not actually a river leading to a lake. WHOOPS. GIF via New York Times.

That's why Dr. Laurence Smith and his team are getting their feet wet and hands dirty on Greenland's glaciers.

Perhaps more accurately, they are risking life and limb as they contend with frostbite and sinkholes in the cracking ice in an attempt to gather the most up-to-date and accurate on-the-ground evidence of climate change ever.

“We scientists love to sit at our computers and use climate models to make those predictions. But to really know what's happening, that kind of understanding can only come about through empirical measurements in the field," Dr. Smith, the head of the geography department at UCLA, told the New York Times (in a super-cool multimedia story that you should totally check out).

GIF via New York Times.

As the icy landmass crumbles beneath their feet, they're out there recording information on the velocity, volume, temperature, and depth of the thousands and thousands of rushing rivers of melted water that have carved their way through Greenland due to rising global temperatures.

We're talkin' 430,000 gallons of water per minute flowing off the ice and into sinkholes called moulins that lead out into the ocean.

Did I mention that if the entire Greenland ice sheet melts, they're currently predicting that it could cause the sea to rise by a whopping 20 feet? 'Cause that's fun.

GIF via New York Times.

Until now, most climate scientists have relied on computer models to predict the changing shape of the world.

The physical evidence of climate change right outside is pretty hard to deny. But scientists have spent the last few decades trying to come up with computer calculations to predict exactly what will happen if our rate of carbon consumption continues.

430,000 gallons of water per minute is flowing off the ice and into the ocean.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors involved in climate conditions. As a result, these theoretical models have not perfectly predicted the future — a fact which those who reject mainstream climate science love to use as justification for their willful ignorance.

Case in point: Just this past year, when the overall sea level rose a whole one-quarter of a millimeter less than predicted.

To recap: Sea levels are in fact still rising, and the world is in fact heating up overall. But climate change isn't real because something something margin of error and science uh-huh OK sure.

GIF from "Easy A."

While these new calculations won't stop what's happening, they'll at least help us prepare for what we're about to face.

For example, if we can predict with greater accuracy (like, less than a quarter-of-a-millimeter off) just how much the water levels are going to rise in the years to come, we can enact a plan to build seawalls or other structures to stop flooding and save our coastal cities ( like that same quaint New England one that I call home ahhhhhhhhh).

GIF via New York Times.

But preventive treatment to stop the effects of climate change also means taking action to end the damage that we're doing right now. It's no use wasting taxpayer dollars on research that we ourselves are rendering useless to plan for a future that we won't live to see.

In the meantime, you can check out this stunning drone video of Greenland's melting glaciers — just as long as you promise to remind yourself that the beautiful sparkling landscape is neither natural nor good.

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Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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Most women, at one point or another, have felt some wariness or fear over a strange man in public. Sometimes it's overt, sometimes it's subtle, but when your instincts tell you something isn't right and you're potentially in danger, you listen.

It's an unfortunate reality, but reality nonetheless.

A Twitter thread starting with some advice on helping women out is highlighting how real this is for many of us. User @mxrixm_nk wrote: "If a girl suddenly acts as if she knows you in public and acts like you're friends, go along w[ith] it. She could be in danger."

Other women chimed in with their own personal stories of either being the girl approaching a stranger or being the stranger approached by a girl to fend off a situation with a creepy dude.

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