Heroes

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?

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

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!)

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

Keep Reading Show less
via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

Keep Reading Show less