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Alex Honnold—of “Free Solo” fame—is about to become a dad, to a baby girl. Will that change how he approaches his climbing? Will he continue to haul himself up—unaided—gravity- and death-defying routes few the world over would even dare consider? What would he say to his kid if she wanted to become a free-solo climber? In a short, but thoughtful interview with Outside Magazine, Honnold considers these questions and more. We love the part most where he says “I certainly don’t think of myself as a big risk-taker.” Guess it’s all about perspective!! Mostly, he says, he just wants to meet his daughter first, “healthy and whole.” Now that we can agree on.

If you’re inclined to read more on the idea of risk-taking and parenthood, have a look at this story from Powder Magazine written by our very own copy chief.

It happened again. Another school shooting. If, like us, you’ve been reeling from the news about the recent incident that left four teenagers dead at Oxford High School, outside of Detroit, Michigan, you might want to listen to this episode of The Daily podcast from earlier this week. It explains why the county prosecutor there decided to criminally charge not only the shooter, but his parents, too. It’s an unusual move and many are wondering if it will lead to a new way of handling these horrific crimes and a new national model for prosecutions that holds more than the shooter accountable.
For the first time in Disney’s history, there are several Black Santas appearing at both Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida. Because, as it turns out, there’s no good reason Santa has always and exclusively been depicted as white. And, representation really matters. It’s key not only for children to see characters like Santa who look like them, but it’s also key for children to see a Santa who may not. Why? Because by the time children are tweens, “racial biases and beliefs are effectively ‘set,’” which also means there’s not a lot of time to teach children about diversity. So, shout out to Disney, because time is of the essence.

And, then for your holiday weekend reading pleasure, how about one good long story to really dig in? Here’s one about a new kind of luxury travel where the customer is purposely abandoned in the middle of nowhere and left to find his or her way out alone. There’s a little more to it than that, but not a lot, truth be told. In this case, the writer is dropped off somewhere in Morocco and left to walk about 18 miles through the Atlas Mountains, spending two nights alone before reaching his final rendezvous point. The result is a mix of adventure, beauty and discovery. And also the knowledge that the whole affair was, admittedly, a bit contrived while still offering excitement and fulfillment, too. The writing here is a journey in and of itself.
The news a few weeks ago from the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen about Instagram’s impact on teen girls was, for parents of girls especially, pretty awful. However, this piece in the New York Times asks an important question: “How do we know for sure that social media is worse for teen girls than traditional media was for previous generations?” Because, sadly, feeling self-conscious and critical of one’s own body—and even more severe conditions like eating disorders—are not problems unique to Gen Z. As it turns out, the answer isn’t so clear-cut. Yet, one thing is certain: parents can arm their children with the skills to be savvier, more critical, users of social media and that training should start early.
The only likely way to have missed the news about the Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who testified before Congress earlier this week, was if you buried your head under your blankets and pillows for a few days. (And listen, no judgments here…) But her story, and what she has uncovered about Facebook’s nearly unflinching pattern of choosing profits over people (a refrain in all the media coverage) despite the real dangers such choices have created for teenagers, our cohesiveness as a society and our democracy no less, is truly incredible. So, if you missed any of the news, here’s a few items to catch you up. First, Haugen’s full interview with 60 Minutes, when she first revealed her identity, is worth watching. Then you might read up in a Bloomberg Opinion piece why her revelations and her testimony may be so impactful. In short, with the trove of tens of thousands of documents she shared this supremely well-spoken woman, armed with a Harvard MBA and several patents under her name, “revealed what many suspected but couldn’t prove: that Facebook created more lenient secret rules for elite users, that Instagram made body issues worse for one in three teen girls, and that Facebook knowingly amped up outrage on its main site through an algorithm change in 2018, potentially leading to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol building.” It’s damning, to say the least. But given her clear suggestions for how to handle these problems, she also gives regulators a way better way to respond than they’ve had before. Finally, if you want to read the actual complaints against Facebook that Haugen’s lawyers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on her behalf, head to CBS News.
Parental burnout is real. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents were feeling over-taxed, under-resourced and simply exhausted. Because while parenting is among the most rewarding endeavors anyone can take on, it’s also sometimes really tough. And in this country, especially, child care is expensive and families often have few social supports, making the challenges that much more intense. Parenting through a pandemic has only raised the stakes. So, this week we thought we’d dig in a bit and look at what’s out there on the topic as well as the resources available for parents to manage when they’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.
Packing school lunches for kids that are enticing, delicious and nutritious can be tricky. Yeah, we get stuck in the PB&J rut, too. But these tips on brain-boosting foods could be the inspiration you need. Walnuts and blueberries? Salmon on sprouted grain bread? Almond butter and berries? Yes please!
Summer may be winding down, but over here we’re clinging on with white knuckles. Not ready! Not ready! How to cope? By packing in as many last camping trips as we can. For tips on how to make those as fun and memorable as possible, we turned to our friends at Tales of a Mountain Mama and Bring the Kids. 
Next month the 2020 summer Olympics–postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic—will begin in Tokyo. So far, 10 mothers have qualified to represent the United States at the games. 
Looking to up your outdoor baby gear game? Want to buy only what’s necessary and not overdo it, too? This comprehensive, thoughtful, guide from our friends over at Tales of a Mountain Mama will give you all the information you need. From baby carriers perfect for hiking, to sleeping bags, strollers, bouncers, wool layers (duh) and more, they’ve got you (or, well, your little iksplorers, to be precise) well covered
Today is Endangered Species Day so we thought we’d bring you some reading on the topic:

As a place to start, you might be interested in perusing this list of endangered species. And, as you do, you might be surprised to learn which animals are on it. They include several species of orangutan, elephants, dolphins and whales; the black rhino, sea lions, sea turtles, tigers, mountain gorillas and more. It’s not super uplifting to read, we know, but we scoured the Internet and found better news for you, too. So don’t let this deter you. It’s just where we begin. Read on for more.
In this week’s edition of good environmental news, we bring you stories from Pennsylvania, Virginia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Louisiana. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced a clean energy initiative that aims to produce almost half of the state government’s electricity from seven new solar energy arrays to be built around the state.
Happy Mother’s Day, ladies. In honor of the occasion, this week’s Snack Break is all about moms and mothering. There’s obviously infinite material on the topic, so the selections below are just a small, and we hope, interesting sample.
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