2 Australian southern right whales decided to hang out with this paddleboarder, and it was amazing.

We already knew that whales were highly evolved creatures. But who would have thought they liked chillin' in the surf like the rest of humankind?

We don't often get to see ginormous southern right whales hanging out with humans.

This might have something to do with the fact that we hunted them nearly to extinction. Or it could just be because our homes can't comfortably accommodate a 50-foot-long, 60-ton aquatic houseguest. Either/or.


GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

So it's easy to understand the excitement that filled local residents when they heard that a pair of these incredible leviathans were lounging right on the coast of Perth, Australia.

Presumably, the whales were interested in checking out the surfing scene at Esperance's Fourth Beach.

Whatever the reason for their casual beach trip, Jaimen Hudson headed down the footpath with his drone as soon he got word. He knew he had to capture the moment on camera.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

What he didn't know was that Dave Price, owner of the local Esperance Sail & Surf, had already made his way out onto the water to greet the friendly critters.

Here's how Hudson described the moment to the local news:

"Dave Price who lives close by, was just making his way over to the whales on his stand-up paddle board and they were really inquisitive and came over to meet him."
...
"I don't think it was dangerous, the whales moved to where he was and the whole time they were very slow moving and peaceful."

I think we're gonna need a bigger paddleboard. GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Southern right whales are just one of the many majestic animals that make their home in Australia.

I haven't actually been there, but from what I hear, all of these awesome creatures peacefully integrate into everyday Australian life, existing happily side by side with our cousins down under.

And, you know, also happily asserting their boundaries.

And sure, dingoes are crazycool, but it's the marine life in the country that's perhaps the most remarkable — thanks in part to the Great Australian Bight.

The bight is the longest east-west ice-free coastline in the southern hemisphere, spanning over 700 miles from Western Australia to Tasmania.

Image via Nachoman-au/Wikimedia Commons.

In addition to the majestic views from its hundreds-feet-high cliffs, the pristine waters of the bight are home to an abundance of amazing and unique creatures. 85% of the species that live there aren't found anywhere else on the entire planet. The bight is home to the largest nursery for endangered southern right whales.

Also: the blobfish.

GIF via Epic Wildlife.

So you can understand what I mean when I say that it's a pretty important ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the bight is in trouble — thanks to a certain accident-prone oil company.

Hey, remember that time BP was drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and then their rig exploded and spent 87 days spilling an estimated 210 million gallons of oil into the water and killed 11 people and tens of thousands of animals and the entire area is still suffering from the aftermath more than five years later?

*Gasps and takes a breath.*

Oh, boy. Well, now BP is getting together with its friends to try that whole drilling thing all over again.

If BP spills oil in the Great Australian Bight, it'll take at least 35 days for support to arrive from Houston and Singapore — plus who knows how many more days after that before they finally plug the leak. And even then, there's a significant chance that a spill of any size will spread and contaminate the entire southern coast in under four months.

GIF via The Wilderness Society.

If by some strange miracle absolutely nothing goes wrong with BP's drilling, there's still the fact that millions of marine animals will be severely injured or killed by collateral damage from BP's underwater sonic blasting.

Simply put: The risk is too great.

So, two things: First, check out the amazing aerial video of Dave Price paddleboarding with his right whale friends.

Second: If that crystal-clear water strikes you as something to preserve, and you want those massive marine mammals to keep frolicking — or if you just don't want to see another oil disaster like the one that wrecked the Gulf of Mexico — take a second and sign this petition.

(Here's that link again! It's easy: Sign!)

Heroes
True
The Wilderness Society
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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