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These “Kung Fu Nuns” Are Biking The Himalayas For The Best Reason

”We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys”

While you spent your summer soaking up the sun, these Nepalese nuns were bicycling the Himalayas to stop human trafficking of girls in their region.

The so-called “Kung Fu nuns” of the Druk Gawa Khilwa nunnery are completing a 4,000-km (2,485 mile) bicycle trek – or “yatra”, which is a kind of pilgrimage – this week, which took them from Nepal's capital Kathmandu to the northern city of Leh in India.


"We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it's okay to sell them," 22-year-old nun Jigme Konchok Lhamo told the Thompson Reuters Foundation.

After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, which left many Nepalese destitute, trafficking of girls between Nepal and India spiked, according to the Indian Express.

Sold by their parents or duped by local gangs, the girls and women are often trafficked to become domestic help in other parts of Asia, as well as part of the sex trade. Indeed, South Asia is one of the fastest growing regions for human trafficking.

During their approximately two-month bicycle journey, the nuns stop in remote villages, where they lead prayers and teach locals not only about the perils of human trafficking but also the importance of gender equality and environmentalism.

This isn’t the first time the nuns have set out by bicycle to vouch for a cause.

Last year, driven by the spirit of female empowerment, the nuns bicycled from Kathmandu to New Delhi to push for environmental protections and women’s empowerment.

"When we were doing relief work in Nepal after the earthquakes last year, we heard how girls from poor families were being sold because their parents could not afford to keep them anymore," Lhamo additionally noted to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, on why they decided to undertake the journey.

The women, many from poor backgrounds, are part of a 1,000-year-old Drukpa lineage. Their leader, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, is one of few men who are part of the order. It was on his recommendation that the women begin practicing Kung Fu, a Chinese martial arts practice made famous by Bruce Lee.

The nuns have become famous in Kathmandu for their energy and activism, as well as their commitment to the local community. During the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, the women refused to be evacuated from the region and instead headed to the countryside where they helped locals dig with rescue and clean-up efforts, reported the BBC.

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via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





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Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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