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23 manatees feeling their feelings about being removed from the endangered species list.

The Florida manatee is rebounding, and the animals are obviously celebrating.

23 manatees feeling their feelings about being removed from the endangered species list.

Thanks to years of sustained population growth spurred by conservation efforts from locals, environmentalists, and lawmakers, Florida manatees are no longer officially endangered.

Manatees are known for their vivid, dramatic, easy-to-read facial expressions. Just look at how obviously happy this one is:


Needless to say, their reaction to the news was characteristically expressive.

1. This manatee is so excited he can barely contain himself.

2. This one has joy written all over her face.

3. This is the third consecutive year that the Florida manatee's population has increased, and the relief this manatee is feeling is palpable.

4. "The Fish and Wildlife Service has worked hand in hand with state and local governments, businesses, industry, and countless stakeholders over many years to protect and restore a mammal that is cherished by people around the world," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement, cheering this carrot-loving manatee up so much it's impossible not to notice.

5. There are over 6,500 manatees alive today — like these two, which are obviously thrilled beyond belief.

6. That's up from just a few hundred manatees 40 years ago, and this manatee is clearly over the moon at the progress.

7. This manatee is undeniably pumped that power companies in Florida have been working to preserve warm water outflows where manatees live when the weather gets cold.

8. This manatee is ecstatic that the Coast Guard and Fish and Wildlife Service have teamed up to implement procedures reducing boat collisions.

9. And this manatee is plainly elated that local efforts to clean fishing gear out of streams and lagoons seem to be having an impact.

10. Unfortunately, it's not purely good news. Taking manatees off the endangered species list means they'll no longer be subject to the strictest legal protection, prompting this manatee to stop celebrating and reflect for a minute.

11. Some environmentalists worry that "downlisting" the creatures will destroy conservation efforts that are just starting to have an impact, reflected in the anxiety that this manatee is suddenly but unmistakably radiating.

12. As a result, the intense bliss that this manatee is experiencing at having being given a reprieve, environmentalists argue, may be short-lived.

13. The Miami Herald reports that even as more manatees are surviving, more are being hit by boats every year, a fact that causes manatees like this one to evince a deep, unshakable sorrow.

Photo by Gloria/Flickr.

14. Without the pressure to maintain them, the same power plants that have created shelters for manatees might decide it's not worth the expense or effort anymore — and the worry in this manatee's face could not be more apparent.

15. Meanwhile, conservationists — and conspicuously uneasy manatees like this one — worry the Trump administration's zeal for cutting environmental regulations could harm the species even further.

Photo by Jean/Flickr.

16. "A federal reclassification at this time will seriously undermine the chances of securing the manatee’s long- term survival," Patrick Rose, executive director for Save the Manatee Club, said in a statement, visibly thrusting this manatee down a rabbit hole of depression and despair.

17. Thankfully, a wide cross-section of lawmakers, activists, and citizens are continuing to look out for the creatures even though they're no longer technically endangered — the thought of which is obviously responsible for this manatee's qualified optimism.

18. Institutions like the Center for Biological Diversity continue to track the species' progress and sound the alarm about threats to its wellbeing, prompting this manatee's unmistakable glee.

Photo by z2amiller/Flickr.

19. In the meantime, a bipartisan cross-section of U.S. Congress members from Florida is urging the Interior Department to reconsider taking the creatures off the endangered list, rendering these manatees rapturous with excitement.

20. As the fight to preserve the species goes on, there are things each of us can do to help manatees like this one maintain the sense of uncontainable jubilation they're so clearly feeling right now.

21. You can donate to groups that advocate for these maximally emotionally forthcoming creatures.

22. And you can call your elected representatives and urge them to keep the regulations that protect manatees like this one — exulting in a state of pure revelry — in place.

23. As always, with every step forward, there remains more work to be done. With thousands of passionate supporters around the world, however, no controversial downlisting can wipe the delirious grin off this manatee's face.

To make sure the wildly expressive creatures stay off off the endangered species list for good, check out the Save the Manatee Club and the Sierra Club, particularly its local Florida chapters.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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