People around the world celebrated love of all kinds this Valentine's Day. While many recognized the day with the customary flowers and chocolates, celebrating their love for one another, students in Brussels celebrated their love of the planet by marching for climate action and calling on governments to protect the environment.
In the Philippines, thousands of students and faculty spent the day dancing to draw attention to the issue of violence against women and children. And in the US, families remembered loved ones lost in the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018.
But as many celebrated Valentine's Day this week, communities worldwide continued to struggle with crises both natural and man-made.
Both Venezuela and Nigeria are in political turmoil. Millions are fleeing Venezuela for neighboring countries, hoping to escape widespread food insecurity, poverty, and violence. In Nigeria, election processes have come under scrutiny as reports of women being prevented from going to the polls have emerged and the validity of the country's voter registration data has been questioned.
These 16 powerful photos show a world poised for change.
1. Students March Over Climate Change: Students march during a climate change protest in Brussels on Feb. 14, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium skipped school for the sixth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities to better protect the planet against climate change. The scale of the movement is huge, and it has been snowballing across the world, inspired by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg — who has been skipping lessons every Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament. Tens of thousands of young people in countries like Switzerland, the US, and Australia have also launched protests and demonstrations to make governments listen up.
2. Valentine's Day Message: Thousands of students and faculty from St. Scholastica's College flash "No. 1" signs at the end of a mass dance performance, dubbed "One Billion Rising," at their campus on the seventh anniversary of the global movement to eradicate violence against women and children on Feb. 14, 2019, in Manila, Philippines. The annual event is held every Valentine's Day.
3. Crisis in Venezuela: Members of an opposition group carry a Venezuelan flag during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Ureña, Venezuela, Feb. 12, 2019. The country is currently in the midst of serious economic turmoil that has caused millions of refugees and migrants to flee to neighboring countries. The exodus from Venezuela has steadily grown over the past few years, following the collapse of the country’s economy, widespread food insecurity, a faltering health care system, and violence. Maduro was in power during this economic collapse and even though he was re-elected last year, many citizens and global leaders have disputed the election's results and process.
4. Election in Nigeria: A boy dances at Ribadu Square, Jimeta, Adamawa State, Nigeria, ahead of a rally held by the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Feb. 14, 2019. Nigerians will cast ballots on Feb. 16 in presidential and legislative elections. The presidential contest will see the incumbent seek to win a second four-year term against the former vice president in what is expected to be a close race.
Visitors walk across dunes at White Sands National Monument as a rain storm passes, Feb. 10, 2019, near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
5. New Mexico Daily Life: Visitors walk across dunes at White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo, New Mexico, as a rain storm passes on Feb. 10, 2019. The scene is a good reminder of nature's beauty and what we stand to lose from climate change and environmental degradation. The UN's Global Goals include multiple targets to help protect the planet, including calling for the protection of life on land and below water and demanding action on climate change.
6. Nature Reserve in Saudi Arabia: A Saudi woman walks in the Sharaan Nature Reserve near the town of al-Ula in northwestern Saudi Arabia on Feb. 11, 2019.
7. Rice Farming in Cambodia: A woman cuts rice in the village of Samroang Kandal on the northern side of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Cambodia's government recently issued a statement about a possible drought early in the dry season this year and is advising farmers to delay the next rice production cycle. A study released last year by researchers at the University of Exeter found that as the effects of climate change — such as droughts and flooding — become more severe, the greater the risk of food insecurity to the world's growing population.
8. Rebuilding After the Wildfires: A mural by artist Shane Grammer is visible on the wall of a building destroyed by the Camp Fire on Feb. 11, 2019, in Paradise, California. Grammer, a former graffiti artist, painted several murals on destroyed buildings and cars to bring hope to the town of Paradise. Three months after the deadly and destructive Camp Fire, the community is beginning the rebuilding process.
9.One-Year Anniversary of Deadly Shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: Sophia Rothenberg (left) and her sister, Emma Rothenberg, hug their mother Cheryl Rothenberg while looking on a memorial for those killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019, in Parkland, Florida. Emma and Sophia are students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school where a year ago on Feb. 14, 14 students and three staff members were killed during the mass shooting.
10. Central America Immigration: A Central American migrant opens the fence of a warehouse used as shelter in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, on the border with the US on Feb. 14, 2019. Around 1,700 migrants traveling in caravan reached the US-Mexico border last week.
11. Undocumented Mother and Child Wait for Day in Immigration Court: Honduran asylum seeker Sandra Sanchez embraces her daughter Yanela Sanchez, 2.5 years old, at a playground on Feb. 13, 2019, in the greater Washington, DC, area. Photographs of Yanela crying as she and her mother were taken into custody at the US-Mexico border on June 12, 2018, were widely published during the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Sandra Sanchez said that she and Yanela were initially held by US immigration authorities for 18 days in three separate Texas detention facilities before being released, pending an immigration court date. They have yet to receive a first hearing. Without a work permit, Sanchez cannot seek legal employment and is unable to afford an attorney to advocate for her and her daughter.
12. Daily Life in Syria: A couple and their child wait to cross a street in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa on Feb. 14, 2019. In 2014, jihadists of the Islamic State seized the city of Raqqa from Syrian rebels. In October 2017, the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) announced the city's full recapture.
13. Migration in South America: A Venezuelan migrant collects coca leaves as he works as a raspachin (coca farmer collector), in the Catatumbo jungle, Colombia, on Feb. 8, 2019. Venezuelans earn up to the equivalent of $144 per week working on coca fields, three times more than they would receive working in construction in their country. Like most immigrants, they keep only enough of their earnings to survive —the rest is sent back to family in Venezuela.
14. Skid Row's Los Angeles Mission: Gregory Harris leads fellow members of the 100th graduating class of the Los Angeles Mission, located on Skid Row, in song during their commencement ceremony on Feb. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. The class of 12 students marked their completion from a year-long residential program of recovery from challenges such as homelessness, addiction, or incarceration. Over the past 80 years, more than 2,000 students residing at the mission have graduated from the program. In 2018, the mission served 400,000 meals in Skid Row.
15. Women at the Grammys: From left: Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Keys, Michelle Obama, and Jennifer Lopez speak at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The show was one dominated by women, from the female-led performances and messages of female empowerment to Kacey Musgraves taking home the night's top prize. Cardi B also became the first solo female artist ever to win the Grammy for Best Rap Album.
16. Unrest in Kashmir: Novice Buddhist monks offer prayers at Tergar monastery in Bodhgaya in the Indian state of Bihar on Feb. 15, 2019, the day after an attack on a paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in the Lethpora area of Kashmir. India's and Pakistan's troubled ties risked taking a dangerous new turn on Feb. 15 as New Delhi accused Islamabad of harboring militants behind the deadliest bombing in three decades of bloodshed in Indian-administered Kashmir. At least 41 paramilitary troops were killed on Feb. 14 as explosives packed in a van ripped through a convoy bringing 2,500 troopers back from leave not far from the main city Srinagar.