10 Year Challenge Hides Deeper Message


Credit: Instagram

There is a new trend on social media called the 10 Year Challenge, and, despite its lighthearted nature, it has taken a dark turn to also reflect the reality of climate change in the past decade.

The challenge involves people posting a photo from 10 years ago, and another photo taken recently.  The point of the challenge is to see how much people have changed and grown — or not.

Some changes in the photos are drastic, and include everything from pictures of people who’ve shed tons of weight to simply a person with a different — and more embarrassing — hair and clothing style.  Other photos prove how little they have changed. People who’ve posted on Instagram with the #10yearchallenge hashtag include Nicki Minaj, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, Caitlyn Jenner, Winnie Harlow, and Miley Cyrus.

A few people from Williston have taken on the 10 Year Challenge as well.

Abbie Coscia ’19, took the photo challenge as a way to keep up with a friend. She ended up nostalgic, but not dwelling in the past.

“I did the challenge because one of my friends who doesn’t go here did it and she’s known me for my whole life,” Abbie said. “She sent me a picture of us two, and kind of just told me to do it because I had changed so much.  The photo that I posted 10 years ago was from my kindergarten graduation in Northampton”

Abbie said it is fun to look at old photos of herself, and to recognize how different she is now.

“I like how I have changed because it is interesting to look back on how far you have come, even looks-wise,” she said.  “The challenge shows how even in just 10 years how much people can change and how you can be in such a different place in your life.”

There is, however, a sour side to this trend, and one that’s gaining a lot of attention.

On Instagram, people have taken photos of landscapes and labeled them the 10-Year Challenge. These photos, which compare pictures of the environment from a decade ago to today, include dead coral reef, melted glaciers, and polluted oceans, all of which show the devastating impact of climate change.

Credit: Instagram

Mr. Choo, a science teacher at Williston, said that people need to be educated about our environment in order to help it. “First, learn as much as you can,” said Choo. “Your clear understanding is the key to making a difference.”

Choo continued: “Second, change your own (as individuals) actions and lifestyle. The change has to start with individuals whose way of life touches others. Then teach other — patiently, yet urgently, without judgement, yet passionately.”

Choo believes humans are absolutely at fault for the warming of the planet, and that the 10-year challenge photos are a sobering reminder.

I believe that the changes occurring in our environment have such momentum that the progression will likely continue,” he said. “Our actions can still make a difference, but there are always consequences.  We (or your generation) will face those consequences.”

Mr. Choo acknowledges that, even compared to 2009, and especially looking another 10 years down the road, “I believe that [we] will live in a different world, with a different environment. And I worry.”

Anaya Akpalu’ 21, agreed with Mr. Choo, said that things need to be done in order to stop our environment from progressing into a downward spiral.

“Every year it gets worse and worse and we don’t acknowledge the problem,” Anaya said. “These photos make me feel sad because it would be different if we were making active steps towards rectifying the situation, but a lot of people are ignoring it.  We don’t want our world to not exist in 100 years.”

Anaya stressed the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and refraining from buying excess plastic material.