7 things to know about the world's oceans that could actually help human beings.

Things are goin' DOWN on the high seas.

Sebastian the crab from "The Little Mermaid" was right.

GIF via "The Little Mermaid."


That same human world is taking a big ol' swan dive into the sea and making it a mess, too.

And U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has taken notice.

Here are seven reasons you might wanna take notice too.

1. The oceans don't have just an environmental problem, they have a human problem!

Yes, the sea is acidifying 10 times faster than at any other point in history. And about half of all fish are "fully exploited." But actual humans beings with feelings and families are being hurt because of the lackadaisical way the — ahem — world has been handling crime on our oceans.

Human trafficking, which is a nice way of saying slavery, is a huge problem out there on the high seas.



Image (modified) via Thierry Ehrmann/Flickr.

And it's not just Secretary Kerry who agrees. Indonesia's marine affairs and fisheries minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, has said "In tackling illegal fishing, we are fighting human trafficking."

So, yeah. Let's not have slaves make our tuna salad? I can get behind that.

2. At least $10 billion a year is lost just because of illegal fishing.

That's a lot of billions. According to Kerry, fixing this huge loss isn't about new rules — it's about just making everyone follow the ones that already exist.

Dramatic re-enactment of Kerry's plan. GIF via Funny or Die.

Which means at least $10 billion worth of rules are currently not being followed.

GIF via "Friday Night Lights."

*boggle*


A recent New York Times report stated that, “Globally, illegal fishing costs more than $20 billion annually, and one in every five fish imported to the United States is thought to have been caught illegally."

3. Shady fish = shady humans.


Plain, simple, logical.

4. More than 80% of seafood consumed by Americans is imported. And it's not clear (right now) where it's coming from.

If you don't know where it's from, you don't know that it's not suuuuuper shady.

Kerry has advocated for stronger rules about where the supply chain begins. If he gets his way (and I hope he does!), he aims to establish "an understanding of the fishing chain, but also some sort of sign off or seal of approval as to what the conditions were in which it was fished."

I love it when my fish is signed, sealed, and delivered minus human suffering and ocean sadness! I'm yours.

5. Environmental groups, not governments, are the ones catching the bad guys. Weird, right?

Environmental group Sea Shepherd recently tracked an illegal fishing boat across 10,000 miles for over 100 days. An environmental group. Funded by donations — many from celebrities. Out on the ocean enforcing laws. I'd say that's weird.

On The Outlaw Ocean, "It takes a pirate to catch a pirate." The 4th Installment of The Outlaw Ocean: http://urbina.io/1KuY8Zz
A photo posted by Ian Urbina (@ian_urbina) on

True story!

6. The American government is purchasing seafood items that have some pretty sad (aka slave labor) pasts.

Robert Stumberg, a Georgetown University law professor speaking at a briefing for the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, "analyzed $300 million worth of American government purchases of fishery products, including frozen shrimp, canned tuna and livestock feed, which he said were most likely to be produced by slave labor," according to a recent New York Times report.

$300 million of purchases from the American government (not even the American people!) were most likely produced by slave labor.

As for the American people's purchases, companies known for keeping slaves have been linked to Iams, Meow Mix, and Fancy Feast.

7. The U.S. government can wield its seafood shopping list ... for good!

That $300 million in fishery products is a lot of purchasing power. And we can use it.

I like to hear that America is leading the way in peacefully making a change that could mean less human suffering, less crime, and, well, more happy pets and fewer sad humans, too.

Win, win, meow.

It's hard to talk about, and it's a little overwhelming. But awareness is a step in a really right direction. Awareness is what led Secretary Kerry to speak up and start making steps to get a handle on this.


Heroes
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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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