Celebrities Are Using the 10-Year Challenge to Show How Much the Planet Has Changed

You're not the only one to undergo a significant — and maybe even shocking — transformation during the past decade. 

Carly Sitzer - Author

Jan. 18 2019, Updated 4:00 p.m. ET

climate change
Source: iStock

If you’ve gone on the Internet at any point in the past two weeks, you’ve probably been confronted by the latest viral craze — the 10-Year Challenge. Maybe you’ve seen your favorite celebrity flaunt their glow-up, or admired from a distance as someone you haven’t seen in, well, almost 10 years reaped the virtual benefits of puberty. Maybe you yourself even partook, with the subtle pride you get from posting today’s photo — along with the reality check you get from posting one from 2009. 

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Some celebrities — like Leonardo DiCaprio and Gisele Bündchen — are taking a different approach to the challenge by showcasing the extreme changes that our planet has experienced in only a decade’s time. 

Leo retweeted a message from Greenpeace that showed the Arctic 100 years ago compared to today — and added, “What will the Arctic look like in 10 more years? [Climate Action] becomes more urgent every day. It is my hope that both we, as individuals, and the organizations that represent us treat climate change as the urgent threat that it is.”

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He also shared a message from his own non-profit, The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation — an organization “dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants — that showed the significant deforestation of the Rondonia region of Brazil. 

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Gisele Bündchen — who is also a noted environmental activist — also focused on Brazil, her home country, for her take on the 10-Year Challenge. 

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“[The 10-Year Challenge] is a great opportunity to reflect. Have you ever stopped to think where were you 10 years ago? What were the dreams you had for yourself and for the world? What are you most proud of today?” she wrote on Instagram. “If you ask me, I would say that, besides creating and nurturing my own family, I’m also very proud of the Agua Limpa Project, that my family and I created 10 years ago to help to better the quality of the water in my hometown — Brazil. In the beginning it was challenging, but we had a dream and a deep desire to be helpful. 10 years later, I’m happy to say that we did it!” she wrote. 

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She continued the post, “We planted more than 40,000 trees on the river banks that not only improved the water quality and helped to preserve the area for the future generations but also created the ecological corridor that brought wildlife back! It’s incredible to see when we give nature a helping hand, she does the rest and thrives. The more we take care of nature the better she can take care of us. We’re all connected.”

Celebrities weren’t the only ones sharing the dramatic changes that our planet has undergone in the recent history; people all over the planet took to social media to share photos of the melting glaciers, the shrinking water ways, and the disappearing forests. But even in the face of the harsh reality of the changing planet, social media was also full of messages reminding everyone that these don’t have to be changes that worsen over time — these catastrophic events can be improved if we take action. 

As Sen. Cory Booker put it, “If we want to pass on a sustainable, healthy world to the next generation, we need to have started yesterday.” Of course, the next best option is to start today. 

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