A village of 70 folks might have the secret to living sustainably.

They don't bite the hand that feeds them. They take care of it.

Igiugig, Alaska. Population: 70.

Yes, 70. Small town, ain't it?

Also known as Igyaraq in the Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Igiugig is a city that is going down an incredible path I hope more cities will follow. You see, Igiugig calls itself a renewable village.


What does that mean? For the residents of Igiugig, it means a number of things:

  • They grow their own food — basil, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, you name it.
  • They have a greenhouse where they grow that food, powered by three turbines.
  • The Kvichak River provides them with water and fish.
  • Some residents have solar collectors and power up their homes this way, so their energy costs are now incredibly cheaper than if they had continued to rely on the expensive diesel they were using before.
  • Besides supporting themselves, they are also able to feed tourists who come and stay in the area's lodgings.
  • They build their own roads.
  • They live by "reduce, reuse, and recycle."

In short: Igiugig relies on locally grown food and local energy sources.

They don't rely on supermarkets, energy companies, or any external entities to survive. They reduce, reuse, and recycle. Their carbon footprint is probably close to nothing.

Seriously, what can't they do?

Well, funny question...

As awesome as they are, the Igiugig residents still face a lot of obstacles that are out of their control.

They're not superhuman, and there are forces much stronger than them affecting the land they live on. Like water pollution, rising temperatures, melting ice, and climate change.

Still, they should be an inspiration for the future. Just take it from Alexandra Salmon, the administrator for the Igiugig Village Council:

"I felt like I had the greatest childhood here in Igiugig. My sisters and I moved, and lived elsewhere, and got an education and thought this is where our kids need to be raised. We want them to have the same, if not greater experience than we had. And that's why we've moved back. We're trying to build a sustainable village, and we have this higher quality of life that we've self-determined."

But it's a VILLAGE of 70 people. How can we translate that to cities with 170,000, 1 million, 3 million people?

While it's impractical to COMPLETELY change the way our cities and towns work in very little time, it's very possible to start implementing some of Igiugig's practices into our daily lives and our immediate neighborhoods.

So, as you watch the video, ask yourself, "Why don't we try to give this a shot?"

Love Igiugig's philosophy? Let your friends know!

Heroes

Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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Culture
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

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