31 Days of Happiness Countdown: looking back at YouTube's best. (Day 31)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 31 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we shared stories we hoped would bring joy, smiles, and laughter into your life. Today's the last day but you can check out the previous 30 installments of this series by clicking the links at the bottom of this article. That's it for us for 2017. Let's all do our best in the new year!

I've got some really great news for you (yes, you, person reading this article): you made it to the end of 2017! Seriously, give yourself a pat on the back. As a reward, let's take a moment to enjoy a year-end palate cleanser packed with all the good and happy things that happened this year. For that, we turn to YouTube and its annual #YouTubeRewind highlight video. Is any of it especially meaningful? No, but it's a whole lot of fun, jampacked with joyful little things from the year you might have forgotten about, such as...


Fidget spinners...

GIFs from YouTube.

And that backpack kid...

And even a brief tribute to "salt bae."

Can you believe this is from 2017? Yep, Salt Bae went viral in January.

Littered with pop culture milestones, big name YouTubers, and a fun soundtrack, the video is a pretty great reminder that for all that is happening in the world, it's important to unwind and appreciate some of life's more lighthearted moments.

Joy is real, and it's not going anywhere.

Let's all take a moment, one last time in 2017, and enjoy the lighter side of things.

Happy new year, everybody! For a look back on the rest of the 31 Days of Happiness Countdown, check out the links below.

More days of happiness here: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5/ DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17/ DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / DAY 28 / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / [DAY 31]
Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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This article originally appeared on 06.16.15


A lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their kids.

Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

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