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10 things that made us smile this week

Music fairies and tigers and baby sloths, oh my!

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So many reasons to smile (and sing!).

Holy moly, it was a great week for music and animal lovers. Of course, amazing acts and heartwarming fur baby stories are always welcome at Upworthy, but they really made up the bulk of our reasons to smile this week.

Why? Because these weren't just moments of "aw, how cute," or "wow, what talent," although we absolutely love those simple pleasures. Many of these stories offered a glimpse of what humanity can accomplish at its best—what can happen when we make a concerted effort toward protecting nature, or when we allow people to express themselves authentically, or when we honor our inherent interconnectedness. There weren't just 10 reasons to smile this week, but 10 reasons to feel hopeful about where we're going collectively.

And those 10 reasons are below.


1. 78-year-old Joni Mitchell makes surprise appearance with Brandi Carlile at folk festival.

The one, the only, THE Joni Mitchell joined fellow singer Brandi Carlile on stage at the Newport Folk Festival, playing some of her most beloved classics including "Big Yellow Taxi," as well as a rendition of "Both Sides Now" that left everyone in tears. You can read even more about her incredible comeback here.

2. Sweet dog loves pats so much, she made a sign for strangers to let them know.

Tubs the Blue Staffy made sure to let everyone know she is a friendly good girl who welcomes gentle pats. To no one's surprise, people were quick to accept her invitation.

3. Flowers were planted along the road to reduce speeding and it worked incredibly well.

Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Long Newnton Parish Council planted flowers by the roadside to help improve biodiversity (BBC). Turns out, the beauty of the flowers cause motorists to literally "slow down and smell the roses." Now the money raised from a crowdfunding campaign will go to plant even more flowers and hopefully reduce speeding on even more roads.

4. A musical fairy absolutely wowed everyone on "America's Got Talent" with a Disney classic.

"Freckled Zelda" showed up in full costume, ocarina and all, for her performance of "Colors of the Wind" from the movie "Pocahontas." By the end, even Simon Cowell was impressed. And so were we.

5. Native birds of Miramar increased by a whopping 51%.

Photo by Sonika Agarwal on Unsplash

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) announced that Wellington's Miramar Peninsula saw a spike in several native bird species, like pīwakawakas, riroriros and tūī. This was largely due to community efforts to eliminate the surplus of natural predators in the area.

6. A positive moment in history resurfaced, giving us all a breath of fresh air.

A step in the right direction, and hopefully the first among many.

7. People fell in love with the security guard moved to tears at a Kendrick Lamar concert.

@dejaihvu Mans shoulda just bought a ticket 😩🤣 #kendricklamar#thebigstepperstour#houstontx♬ original sound - Dejaih Smith

Security guard Devyn Sanford was caught on video sobbing to Lamar performing "Love." That touching video of his pure joy went viral on TikTok gaining 11 million views.

8.  Man had one cat, then no cats, then two cats. 

The best copycat story ever. Now he has double the chonks to love.

9. An adorable baby sloth was born at a zoo in Mississippi.

Baaaaaaaby sloth, do, do, do, do, do do. This little guy's name is Lumpawaroo. Lumpy for short. You're welcome.

10. There are now double the amount of tigers in Nepal.

Photo by Kartik Iyer on Unsplash

By tackling poaching and using government intervention strategies like replacing livestock eaten by tigers (thus reducing conflicts between the tigers and farmers), Nepal now has an estimated 355 big cats in the country, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Compare that to the 121 estimated in 2009. Wow.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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Anyone who was a teen in the '90s will remember the grunge era. Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were topping the charts with their gravely metaphorical lyrics, but they weren't alone. Soul Asylum burst onto the scene with their solemn anthem "Runaway Train" complete with a video that showcased missing kids.

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