Heroes

Why it's absolutely fine that sea levels are rising and I'm totally not panicking at all.

Just look at some nice ocean pictures and remain calm like me.

Hi. So ... nothing to worry about here but ... scientists have discovered that sea levels are rising faster than they have in 2,800 years.

I know, I know. I know that sounds really bad, but it's fine. It's fine. Really. I'm not worried about it. It's just the fate of the planet and humankind, but I'm not — you know, it's just — just don't worry about it. It's fine.

First of all, I mean, come on, "faster than they have in 2,800 years" yeah, sure that sounds like an impressive observation, but psht — 2,800 years isn't even that long. It's only what ... ? 28 centuries? Come on! Just 28 centuries. That's ... like ... nothing.


Plus, OK, it's not like those scientists are even 100% positive about that number. In fact, according to The Washington Post, the scientists are only hypothesizing it to be true with, like, 95% certainty.

95%? That's nothing! Right? I only trust scientists who are 100% certain about their findings. Or else I'd be totally panicking over this news, you know, like totally panicking. Which I'm not. Like — I'm definitely not. Shut up, I'm not panicking at all, OK?

Like, if you had a 95% chance of winning the lottery, would you even play? I wouldn't. That's not even ... oh God ... no reason to panic...

OK. OK. Yes. Let's just ... look at this ocean picture. Just a nice ... calm ... serene ocean picture.

Photo by Manu Schwendener/Unsplash.

Just a nice ... rapidly rising, warming, globally threatening ocean... Oh — oh no — no, this isn't working.

OK. Let's just look at the facts. This new study, which was published Monday, says that sea level rise in the 20th century was "extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries."

Which, again, right, yeah. That's not horrifying or cause for any panic at all or anything — I'm not panicking, you're panicking.

I, for one, am definitely not frozen with fear at the implications of a drowning planet that will no longer be able to sustain human life. Nope. Not me. Haha. Hahahahahahaha! Haha! Hah.

The study also shows that, from 1900 to 2000, sea levels rose about 1.4 millimeters per year, while the current rate of rise, according to data from NASA, is about 3.4 millimeters per year.

Which is fine. Totally fine! Just fine! You can swim, right?

Hey, it's a good thing nothing else is rapidly increasing — like my heart rate or my general sense of dread. Steady as a rock, totally not panicking right now. That's me.

Here, maybe another ocean photo will help:

Just take deep breaths and look out at the sunset over this gorgeous, (also criminally over-polluted by the way) ocean. Photo by Sam Wheeler/Unsplash.

But let's just say, you know, hypothetically, that these "scientists" with their "data" and "studies" and "advanced degrees" are right about this....

...what would actually happen?

If sea levels continue to rise, a lot of us would be in some very real danger.

But that's just — you know — hypothetically speaking, of course, because everything is fine. Everything is gonna be just ... fine.

In Bangladesh, for example, research shows that rising sea levels could displace 20 million people there in the coming decades.

But I mean, come on, 20 million people? Pfft — that's it? 20 million people is like — so, OK, it's not — nothing. But it's only like ... 1,098 Madison Square Gardens worth of people. Only ... OK, wow, yeah ... that's a lot of — is it hot in here or is it just me? I'm sweating a lot all of a sudden.

But, it's not like it's going to affect us, right? I mean, okay, except for the entire east coast of the United States. Where (again, totally not freaking out here, but) scientists have predicted that rising sea levels and changing ocean temperatures are likely to worsen winter storms and contribute to more extreme weather conditions.

That's fine! I live in New York and no one here ever complains about winter storms or extreme weather conditions or not being able to take the subway or order takeout. We love winter storms more than we love pizza!

Oh man — the denial factor is wearing off a little bit. Ooohhhh boy.

No one is bothered by this! This is a totally IDEAL SITUATION. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

No, seriously, is it like really hot in here?

There's also Florida. Just ... yeah. Florida. Large portions of which are projected to be — um, hah, yeah — underwater by 2025. But don't worry about that! That's nine whole years away! So much can happen in nine years. I mean you could make like 12 new "Fast and Furious" movies in that much time.

Oh man. My mouth is so dry. You ever get that feeling?

The point is this: Oh — who am I kidding? — EVERYONE PANIC.

GET TO HIGHER GROUND!

GET GRANDMA IN A RAFT!

THIS ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE, PEOPLE, WE ONLY HAVE 20 YEARS TO STOCK UP ON CANNED GOODS AND LEARN HOW TO GROW GILLS SO WE CAN BREATHE UNDERWATER.

OH MAN.

Oh ... God.

OK.

Deep breaths.

In and out.

Ocean. Just keep looking at the ocean. Photo by Oliver & Hen Pritchard-Barrett/Unsplash.

You know what? I — I actually feel a little better now.

Here's the thing, folks. This latest report is an almost comically horrifying indicator of the completely cataclysmic and looming problem of climate change. It is.

This data is yet another sign, in the already long list of signs, showing that the need for sweeping climate reform is immediate and urgent.

So, yes, there is totally something to be worried about here.

Especially when you consider that, as the conditions of climate change get worse, it will feed into what's known as a positive feedback loop: Ice melts, seas rise, and the whole system begins to spiral out of control faster and faster. So fast that we won't be able to stop it, and it'll just keep getting worse and worse, and I'll start to wonder if maybe growing gills isn't something I thought of in a moment of panic but an actual survival strategy I might need to invest in.

This is alarming stuff. If you aren't already freaked out about climate change, you probably should be.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which flooded in 2015 due to abnormally high tides and rising sea levels. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The good news is there's never been a better time to be involved. And our country is (just sort of) beginning to take some real action.

The White House's current climate change plan boasts some helpful goals, like increasing clean energy use 30% by 2030. It's not a lot, but it's something.

It's also an election year. 2016 could very well decide the future of the climate, given that the candidates' beliefs on climate change range from "It's the number one thing threatening our nation" to "It isn't real."

Now, more than ever, is the right time to learn what you can do to help. We're all in this together. Do what feels right to you. Recycle. Call your congressman. Vote.

If you don't want to do any of that, I would suggest moving to a landlocked state at some point in the next few years. I hear Nebraska is lovely.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

True

The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

Screenshot taken from a live video of the trial.

A recent (and fairly insensitive) sketch from “Saturday Night Live” said it best regarding the widespread fixation many have on the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial:

“It’s not the most pertinent story of the moment, but with all the problems in the world, isn’t it nice to have a news story we can all collectively watch and say ‘glad it ain't me?’”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial Cold Open - SNL www.youtube.com

Schadenfreude, celebrity fascination and previously inaccessible information now being at our fingertips is a potent combination in this trial, making amateur lawyers and psychologists of all who feel compelled to unleash their hot takes. And though the right to converse and speculate exists, is it always in our best interests to do so? Especially when it means potentially spreading misinformation, or at the cost of empathy and compassion?

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Prior to baby formula, breastfeeding was the norm, but that doesn't mean it always worked.

As if the past handful of years weren't challenging enough, the U.S. is currently dealing with a baby formula crisis.

Due to a perfect storm of supply chain issues, product recalls, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with formula demand and retailers are rationing supplies. As a result, families that rely on formula are scrambling to ensure that their babies get the food they need.

Naturally, people are weighing in on the crisis, with some throwing out simplistic advice like, "Why don't you just do what people did before baby formula was invented and just breastfeed?"

That might seem logical, unless you understand how breastfeeding works and know a bit about infant mortality throughout human history.

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