People Have Turned The #TenYearChallenge Into A Look At Climate Change

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A lot can change in 10 years. So when the #HowHardDidAgingHitYou meme (aka the Ten-Year Challenge) started circulating on social media, people took the opportunity to brag about their glow-ups or how good they still look or, hell, lament their lost youth. But you know what else has changed a lot in ten years? The severity of natural disasters, the size of polar ice caps, and important populations of various flora and fauna.

Which is why some people are using the ten-year challenge to talk about climate change.

If you look up “ten-year challenge” and “climate change” or “earth,” you’ll be privy to a host of images showing the very real changes that the planet has undergone in the past decade or so. There are comparative images of a healthy polar bear and a starving polar bear, using a famous photo taken by NatGeo photographer and SeaLegacy cofounder Paul Nicklen. There are shrunken glaciers, like Switzerland’s Rhône Glacier, a “rapidly retreating” glacier in the Alps which has retreated more in the past quarter century than in all of its recorded history of movement. There are heat maps, photos showing the increased air pollution of densely populated cities, and more. You name the environmental disaster, someone has tweeted a photo highlighting how it’s gotten worse in the past ten years. A glow-up this is not.

“fr tho the #10yearchallenge thing is gr8 glo ups for ppl and all but like look at the earth man,” one person tweeted. Others have tweeted similar sentiments—that this is the only challenge we should be looking at.

Still, others are trying to use this opportunity to be prescriptive. One person tweeted, “The only #10yearchallenge you need to care about is actually a long one.. #ClimateChange #climatechangeisreal help the planet install solar PV in your home, eat less meat, drive electric including e-bikes on the daily routine.”

And hey, while this is a great sentiment—we should all be doing things like eating less meat—less than 100 companies around the world are responsible for 71 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, so tackling climate change isn’t just a matter of making some personal changes. It’ll require radical change at all levels. And we mean all levels. But the first step is getting the word out there, and tweeting about climate change is a hell of a lot better than tweeting your face for what could potentially be, oh, we don’t know, training facial recognition algorithms. Just food for thought.