8 abandoned industrial sites turned into whimsical, haunting, and gorgeous parks.

Hallo. It’s me. Your friendly neighborhood grouch.

It’s springtime, which means the sun is shining, birds are in the air, flowers are blooming ... blech. You know what I want? Pollution! Chemicals! I want to go where the grass is orange and the water green!

Maybe I’ll just trip on down to my favorite industrial site. Seattle's got a nice one full of rusty old towers and old coal grime and beautiful chemical processing machines and ... what is this?


Where did the coal gas plant go? All the equipment's here, but it looks ... clean and beautiful?!

Seattle's Gas Works Park used to make coal gas, but since the 1960s, it's been a delightful public park. The old plant towers like a post-apocalyptic cityscape over grassy hills and the water of Lake Union.

Gas Works is what you could call a "reclaimed park," and a lot of places around the world have jumped on the trend of grabbing old industry or waste sites and turning them into beautiful public spaces.

And I, as a trash-and-grime-loving grouch, could not be more disappointed! I mean, check out these other seven sites people have ruined with their whole "Oh, no, we don't like trash. We like laughing and flowers and babies and laughing-flower-babies" schtick.

Freshkills Park on Staten Island used to be the largest landfill in the country.

Photo from New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Now it's a park filled with osprey nests and kayakers. Kayakers! See what I mean?

Then there's Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, California. Pretty again!

The beaches used to be perfect grouch-worthy dumping grounds, but over time, people hauled out metal and other rubbish, leaving just glass behind, which the ocean's pounded into beautiful little pebbles. Now it gets tourists!

Although, really, even I, a grouch, must admit that this German park has a kind of eerie, serene beauty to it.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Landschaftspark in Duisburg-Meiderich, Germany, used to be an ironworks plant, but was abandoned in the 1980s. Since then, it's been reclaimed and turned into a park and cultural center. There are even high ropes courses and viewing towers!

Photo by Thomas Starke/Getty Images.

The High Line in Manhattan used to be a freight line. Now it's basically like a super-cool elevated walkway and a garden had a baby.

Photo by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Again with the babies!

Even old prisons are getting in on the bit. I mean, check out Alcatraz!

The gardens used to be one of the few bright spots on Alcatraz, back when it was an infamous prison. The gardens were abandoned when the prison closed down in the 1960s. Years later, with some human help, the plants exploded into this riot of color. There are even places where the plants have taken over!

Although, as much as I hate to admit it, I do really dig that whole overgrown ruins vibe...

The Huangpu River waterfront in Shanghai, China, used to be a steel factory and shipyard, but look at it now.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Now it's known as Houtan Park. Regenerative wetlands are helping to restore the environment, while long, winding paths give visitors a beautiful experience right in the heart of one of the world's biggest cities.

Finally, check out Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, South Korea.

Photo by Park Ji-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images

The stream used to be a gigantic, trash-filled eyesore and was actually covered over in concrete in the 1950s, but today, it's been restored into this grand public space.

And while trash is lovely, splashing around in that water does look like fun...

Fine, fine! You win! Even this grouch must admit reclaiming old industrial sites is pretty legit.

The mix between old tech and lovely green space, the concept of taking the old and revitalizing it, history and fun twisted together ... it's pretty magical. Plus, having parks nearby can make people happier and healthier!

You got me, springtime. I guess I have no choice but to go enjoy the new life humans have breathed into these old sites. Good job, guys.

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As part of its promise for a brighter world, Dole is partnering with Bye Bye Plastic Bags's efforts to bring sunshine to all.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

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Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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