[image description: a graphic featuring text laid over two boxes of different shades of blue.
the first box is smaller and contains two headings, “So your buddy’‘s disabled:” followed by “How Can I Help?” in quotation marks.
the second box is larger and contains a list of five subheadings and descriptions, which are as follows:
1. Pity parties are boring. I don’t need you to tell me how awful my life must be or how sorry you are that I have to deal with it. I don’t care. I’m doing exactly the same as everyone else - managing with what I’ve got.
2. Don’t assume I’m incapable. I can still open doors for myself and hold a conversation. Even with a crutch. Blind-blowing, I know. It’s frankly a little insulting how quickly people will rush to ‘help’ me when I’m using a mobility aide. If you’re not sure, then ask first! Or alternatively, wait for me to ask you.
3. Let me grab you on the stairs. Stairs fuckin’ suck and I may have to grab something very quickly in order to avoid collapsing. Sometimes that something may be you and I am always very grateful for your presence in this situation.
4. Meet in accessible spaces. If you choose to sit somewhere I can’t get to, i.e. upstairs, then I’m left with three options: a) I kick up a fuss and make you move, b) I get hurt by forcing myself to join you, or c) I sit on my own. None of these options are ideal for any of us but they could all be avoided if you’d sat somewhere else.
5. Listen to me. My condition and how I’m feeling with it changes from day to day, and what was fine yesterday might not be today. I will always try my best to communicate what I can and can’t manage; all you need to do is keep an open mind and listen to what I’m telling you.]
Not all of these points will apply to everyone with a disability, but certainly the 1st, 2nd and 5th should apply to almost everyone. I often find that nobody really knows what to do when they discover that I’m disabled, and I’m often asked “how can I help?” but never have much of an answer, so I finally thought I’d put together a masterlist for my friends to take a look at.
Whether it’s crops, forests or phytoplankton blooms in the ocean, our scientists are tracking life on Earth. Just as satellites help researchers study the atmosphere, rainfall and other physical characteristics of the planet, the ever-improving view from above allows them to study Earth’s interconnected life.
1. Life on Earth, From Space
While we (NASA) began monitoring life on land in the 1970s with the Landsat satellites, this fall marks 20 years since we’ve continuously observed all the plant life at the surface of both the land and ocean. The above animation captures the entirety of two decades of observations.
2. Watching the World Breathe
With the right tools, we can see Earth breathe. With early weather satellite data in the 1970s and ‘80s, NASA Goddard scientist Compton Tucker was able to see plants’ greening and die-back from space. He developed a way of comparing satellite data in two wavelengths.
When healthy plants are stocked with chlorophyll and ready to photosynthesize to make food (and absorb carbon dioxide), leaves absorb red light but reflect infrared light back into space. By comparing the ratio of red to infrared light, Tucker and his colleagues could quantify vegetation covering the land.
Expanding the study to the rest of the globe, the scientists could track rainy and dry seasons in Africa, see the springtime blooms in North America, and wildfires scorching forests worldwide.
3. Like Breathing? Thank Earth’s Ocean
But land is only part of the story. The ocean is home to 95 percent of Earth’s living space, covering 70 percent of the planet and stretching miles deep. At the base of the ocean’s food web is phytoplankton - tiny plants that also undergo photosynthesis to turn nutrients and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. Phytoplankton not only feed the rest of ocean life, they absorb carbon dioxide - and produce about half the oxygen we breathe.
In the Arctic Ocean, an explosion of phytoplankton indicates change. As seasonal sea ice melts, warming waters and more sunlight will trigger a sudden, massive phytoplankton bloom that feeds birds, sea lions and newly-hatched fish. But with warming atmospheric temperatures, that bloom is now happening several weeks earlier - before the animals are in place to take advantage of it.
4. Keeping an Eye on Crops
The “greenness” measurement that scientists use to measure forests and grasslands can also be used to monitor the health of agricultural fields. By the 1980s, food security analysts were approaching NASA to see how satellite images could help with the Famine Early Warning System to identify regions at risk - a partnership that continues today.
With rainfall estimates, vegetation measurements, as well as the recent addition of soil moisture information, our scientists can help organizations like USAID direct emergency help.
The view from space can also help improve agricultural practices. A winery in California, for example, uses individual pixels of Landsat data to determine when to irrigate and how much water to use.
5. Coming Soon to the International Space Station
A laser-based instrument being developed for the International Space Station will provide a unique 3-D view of Earth’s forests. The instrument, called GEDI, will be the first to systematically probe the depths of the forests from space.
Another ISS instrument in development, ECOSTRESS, will study how effectively plants use water. That knowledge provided on a global scale from space will tell us “which plants are going to live or die in a future world of greater droughts,” said Josh Fisher, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and science lead for ECOSTRESS.
6. Seeing Life, From the Microscopic to Multicellular
Scientists have used our vantage from space to study changes in animal habitats, track disease outbreaks, monitor forests and even help discover a new species. Bacteria, plants, land animals, sea creatures and birds reveal a changing world.
Our Black Marble image provides a unique view of human activity. Looking at trends in our lights at night, scientists can study how cities develop over time, how lighting and activity changes during certain seasons and holidays, and even aid emergency responders during power outages caused by natural disasters.
7. Earth as Analog and Proving Ground
Just as our Mars rovers were tested in Earth’s deserts, the search for life on ocean moons in our solar system is being refined by experiments here. JPL research scientist Morgan Cable looks for life on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. She cites satellite observations of Arctic and Antarctic ice fields that are informing the planning for a future mission to Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter.
The Earth observations help researchers find ways to date the origin of jumbled, chaotic ice. “When we visit Europa, we want to go to very young places, where material from that ocean is being expressed on the surface,” she explained. “Anywhere like that, the chances of finding biomarkers goes up - if they’re there.”
8. Only One Living Planet
Today, we know of only one living planet: our own. The knowledge and tools NASA developed to study life here are among our greatest assets as we begin the search for life beyond Earth.
There are two main questions: With so many places to look, how can we home in on the places most likely to harbor life? What are the unmistakable signs of life - even if it comes in a form we don’t fully understand? In this early phase of the search, “We have to go with the only kind of life we know,” said Tony del Genio, co-lead of a new NASA interdisciplinary initiative to search for life on other worlds.
So, the focus is on liquid water. Even bacteria around deep-sea vents that don’t need sunlight to live need water. That one necessity rules out many planets that are too close or too far from their stars for water to exist, or too far from us to tell. Our Galileo and Cassini missions revealed that some moons of Jupiter and Saturn are not the dead rocks astronomers had assumed, but appear to have some conditions needed for life beneath icy surfaces.
9. Looking for Life Beyond Our Solar System
In the exoplanet (planets outside our solar system that orbit another star) world, it’s possible to calculate the range of distances for any star where orbiting planets could have liquid water. This is called the star’s habitable zone. Astronomers have already located some habitable-zone planets, and research scientist Andrew Rushby of NASA Ames Research Center is researching ways to refine the search. “An alien would spot three planets in our solar system in the habitable zone [Earth, Mars and Venus],” Rushby said, “but we know that 67 percent of those planets are not inhabited.”
He recently developed a model of Earth’s carbon cycle and combined it with other tools to study which planets in habitable zones would be the best targets to look for life, considering probable tectonic activity and water cycles. He found that larger planets are more likely than smaller ones to have surface temperatures conducive to liquid water. Other exoplanet researchers are looking for rocky worlds, and biosignatures, the chemical signs of life.
10. You Can Learn a Lot from a Dot
When humans start collecting direct images of exoplanets, even the closest ones will appear as only a handful of pixels in the detector - something like the famous “blue dot” image of Earth from Saturn. What can we learn about life on these planets from a single dot?
Stephen Kane of the University of California, Riverside, has come up with a way to answer that question by using our EPIC camera on NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite. “I’m taking these glorious pictures and collapsing them down to a single pixel or handful of pixels,” Kane explained. He runs the light through a noise filter that attempts to simulate the interference expected from an exoplanet mission. By observing how the brightness of Earth changes when mostly land is in view compared with mostly water, Kane reverse-engineers Earth’s rotation rate - something that has yet to be measured directly for exoplanets.
The most universal, most profound question about any unknown world is whether it harbors life. The quest to find life beyond Earth is just beginning, but it will be informed by the study of our own living planet.
“Harry” Y/n cries, coming down the stairs to the basement area.
All the boys look over to where she’s standing, her hands on her cheeks, wiping away her stream of tears, making her way toward Harry. He looks at her like his entire world is ending. His arms reaching out toward her, his entire body nearly drowning in his concern.
This Harry is a stranger to most. He is by far the most intimidating person anybody could meet, and it’s strange how the second he lays eyes on his girlfriend, his entire demeanor changes.
Everyone he comes in contact with will keep their distance, because even the way he stands screams danger.
And if someone were to come between him and his persona, something so powerful will arise in him. He’ll curse at them, hit them, throw things at them, anything to show them who they’ve messed with. But something about Y/n changes the way he acts. It’s like she’s his cure, his reason to be the person he hides under his danger. Even when she’s screaming at him, cursing at him, telling him what he does is wrong, he will never raise his voice. He couldn’t picture her in such a state because of him.
Losing her would be like losing his sanity. He’s isolated himself in her, in her presence and in her company, because losing her would lead to him into turning a monster against himself. She’s his everything. Something about her is so powerful, so strong that she’s able to lock up the worst of him, and release a man who nobody else can see. He makes sure she’s not around whenever he’s causing danger. She knows about him, but she hasn’t seen him, and he’s afraid he’ll scare her enough to cause her to run away.
This is why he holds her so close.
“Angel.” Harry says softly.
Y/n crawls over, hiding herself into his side. His entire attention is on her, everything else around him a complete blur. Both of his arms are protectively wrapped around her his head at his side so that he can look directly into Y/n’s eyes.
Y/n’s ex boyfriend has been harassing her, sending her threatening emails and leaving disturbing phone calls. It’s been going on ever since Harry and him were involved in a street fight, but her ex hasn’t given up on throwing Harry over the edge. However, Y/n hasn’t let Harry do anything about it, and he followed her request.
“He just won’t stop.” Y/n sobs, every inch of her body shaking with dear.
Harry keeps rubbing her arm with his fingertips, kissing away all the tears that fell from her bambi eyes. His heart breaks with every tear. She doesn’t deserve the fear and haunt she’s been living in the last few months. But as selfish as it sounds, Harry lives for protecting her.
“I hate seeing you like this” Harry whimpers delicately in her ear, kissing her, petting her, doing everything he can to calm her down.
“I—I’m sorry It’s just—”
“Y/n, just get over it! Stop crawling into the arms of your boyfriend, get off your ass, and you do something about it. Fucking christ.” Niall seethes, throwing her a harsh glare.
Y/n’s cries stop, her arms tightening around Harry. She didn’t want it to seem like she couldn’t do anything herself, but there’s nothing that she can do, not without being in severe danger.
Harry starts to tense, holding Y/n closer and harder to the side of his body. He turns to look at Niall, looking at him as if he’s his next piece of prey, ready to destroy his every inch if Niall pushes him hard enough.
“Do not speak to her like that!” Harry barks.
He places the palm of his hand on top of Y/n’s ear while he presses her other ear to the side of his chest, preventing her from hearing his harsh tone.
“She hasn’t done anything herself, Harry. She’s just using your strength to her advantage, who else is gonna fight her own shitty battles? She’s so fucking immature. I can’t stand her.”
Harry’s breathing becomes harsh, his face turning red with anger, his hands clenched so tight that the veins in them are bulging through the skin. This is a whole new level, this is an entirely new feeling of rage pumping into his blood, bubbling in his chest. Not his girl, nobody says that to his girl.
“That’s not true!” Y/n yells, “I love him with all my heart, I love him so fucking much, how dare you say that?! You have no right to say something like th–”
“Go in the bedroom” Harry interrupts her.
His voice is as soft as he can manage, but it’s not nearly as soft as it normally is when he speaks to her. No, it’s far more sinister.
Y/n turns to him, cupping his face in her hands, caressing the softness of his cheeks. She’s not going to be the reason someone gets hurt.
Her eyes are desperate when they meet his. His eyes change to a lighter shade of green when he looks at her, but they’re not how they should be, he hasn’t come back to her yet.
“Harry, listen to me. It’s okay, it’s okay baby. You don’t need to hurt him for me. Harry—Harry look at me”
she demands, his enraged eyes ripping away from Niall to look at her again.
“I’m fine. Do you see? I’m okay, nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.”
“The way he spoke to you–”
“I know. It’s okay. It’s okay. I love you, Harry.”
He squeezes his eyes tight, because he can’t be angry when he hears those words, not at anybody, not when they’re said by her.
“God, fuck, Y/n, I love you so much. But he can’t get away with saying that to you, not to you. To me, maybe, but not to you. Nobody can say that to you, not here, not with me.”
“No–no, Harry. Don’t hurt him because of me, please.”
He places the palm of his hands against his ears, thrashing his head side to side. He can’t let Niall get away with this, but she’s making it happen, and he can’t let it. The way Niall spoke to her, what he said to her, how he said it to her, repeating in his head over and over again. He can’t let Niall speak that way to her, not his angel, not without knowing what he’s done wrong.
“Zayn, please. Bring her to the bedroom and make sure she can’t hear anything. God, Zayn, please, before I lose my fucking control in front of her.”
Y/n shakes her head vigorously. She’s mumbling “no” continuously under her breath, trying desperately to take his hands away so that he can hear her, listen to her. She needs to make him stop, she needs him to know she’s scaring her.
Zayn wraps his arms around Y/n’s waist, pulling her away from Harry. He knows to do what Harry says, otherwise the situation will be worse, and he can’t let that happen while Y/n is around.
“Come on, Y/n. You just have to let him do what he has to do.”
“No!” she yells, “I don’t want him to hurt Niall. I don’t want him to do it!”
After trying to rip away from Zayn’s grip, Zayn finally manages to rip her away from Harry. She’s squealing, crying, because this is the last thing she wants. She can’t imagine what she’ll see when she comes back downstairs, how horrid the sight will be when she has to face Harry again. No. She has to stop this.
When Zayn gets her up the first step, Harry storms toward Niall. Endless curses, endless screaming. Every sound is echoing off the wall, everything is happening so fast. She can hear it, she can see it, but it’s all going in slow motion. Everything is a blur, she can’t breathe. Her chest is tightening, her stomach is churning, everything is happening so fast.
“You’re scaring me.” She whispers, closing her eyes as tight as she can, trying to stop the images in her head.
“You’re scaring me, Harry! You’re scaring me!” She screams, dropping onto the staircase.
Harry stops everything. Her cries are surrounding the room, closing in on him. He can’t find the strength to turn around yet, he can’t look at her the way she is. He looks down at his hands. They’re full of blood, shaking from fear, mocking at him, laughing at him, spitting on him. He looks at Niall on the ground, panting heavily as his hand is on his chest.
This isn’t who he is. This isn’t him.
“Y/n,” he sobs, “No.” he mumbles, rubbing his hands up and down his face, “Please. Please, no. Please. This isn’t me, this isn’t who I am, Y/n, angel, please.”
He finally turns to look at her. Her fragile body crunched in a ball. Her face is soaking with tears, drowning in her fear. He looks down, panting heavily. He can’t believe he did this to her, to his angel, he can’t believe he did this to her. This is so much worse than what anybody could do. He made her scared of him. He’s suppose to make him feel save.
“I didn’t want–I didn’t mean to scare you. I–I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I can’t control it and I—please don’t be scared of me, please. I can’t live with myself.”
Y/n sighs. She knows that this isn’t who he is, this is who he hides behind. He’s so hurt, so mentally damaged, that this is who he hides behind in order to make himself feel worthy of something. She knows that who he is, is who she sees. The most gentle, fragile, most emotional man she has ever laid hands on. That’s who he is, so severely damaged, so fragile. That’s who Harry is.
She slowly sits up from the stairs, walking fearlessly toward him. When he looks up, he looks at her like his entire world is in front of him. She knows that, she knows she’s the only one that can build him up again. She loves it, and she loves him.
She cups his face in her hands again, looking at him with so much sympathy. She love how delicate he really is, when his eyes are a light shade of green, nearly glistening, and his hands are tender and loving. All for her, and she can’t get enough.
“I know, Harry, I know. It’s okay” she whispers, wiping the remnants of his tears with the pads of her thumb.
She presses her lips slightly to his. He holds her harder.
“You aren’t scared of me, right? Please don’t. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no please don’t.” he sobs.
“I’m not, baby. Not at all. I know you’d never do that to me. You just need someone to watch you and protect you when you know you’ll do something you’ll regret” she coos, leaning her face into his shoulder.
Harry shakely inhales, sniffling while reaching for her tiny hands. He holds them, so delicately, almost like he’s scared to squeeze too hard.
He can’t do anything wrong, not now.
“W—will you? Will you w—watch me when I’m like this? Protect me?”
She smiles, letting go of one of his hands to rub his cheek again. She knows petting him is his weakness, her touch is his weakness. He smiles, nuzzling his cheek into her fingers, closing his eyes. His hand lets go of hers to grab the one on his cheek, holding her hand there for reassurance.
“I will, but you can’t keep pushing me away. It’s the only way I can help you.”
Harry brings her hand up to his lips, holding her hand against the lower part of his face, kissing her skin repeatedly.
“No more. No more pushing away. No more” he promises, shaking his head.
He’ll do anything for her, anything in this world. And if it means he needs to stop being someone that takes over him, he is willing to do it. Anything for his angel.
“Hey,” Y/n whispers, pressing her forehead against his, “I love you. Okay? Nothing on this planet could ever stop that from happening.”
Harry’s lips quiver, choking out another strong cry. “I love you so much that it makes me worry all the time.”
She nuzzles her face in his neck, breathing in his scent that always tends to make her feel protected.
“Don’t worry, my love, I will always love you,” she whispers, peppering kisses on his neck, “even when your demons become too strong”.