Animal success stories that will make you call your senator to protect endangered species.

One of the things that seems it might be on the new administration's chopping block is the Endangered Species Act. Yep, really.

The Endangered Species Act is a federal law that protects over 1,600 vulnerable animal and plant species. To enforce these protections, the law restricts logging, drilling, and other forms of land use.

These restrictions have made the Endangered Species Act a popular target for deregulation pushes. Between January 2015 and January 2017, Congress put forth 135 different bills that would have weakened it, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The latest push seemed to come during a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 15, during which Republican senators put forth ideas to — as they put it — modernize the act.


Some advocates have called the latest push an attempt to gut the landmark bill.

Even its most ardent supporters admit the act could be improved. As recently as 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed changes to the law designed to engage states and improve efficiency and transparency.

That said, some of the claims made against the law have been a bit ... out there.

Some argue the law's not really about protecting endangered species anymore, but instead, it's been unfairly exploited by environmentalists in order to stymie development.

In fact, in January, Representative Rob Bishop of Utah said, "[The law] has never been used for the rehabilitation of species." He claimed it has been used as a sort of scheme to control land and said he would "love to invalidate" it.

What? There are legitimate criticisms one could throw at the act, but really? Never rehabilitated a species?

So ... it didn't help save our national bird?

Photo from iStock.

The protection of the bald eagle was one of the reasons we have the act in the first place. When Nixon signed the law, the iconic animal was in danger of disappearing. Today, partly thanks to habitat protections from the ESA, their numbers have recovered.

They were taken off the act's list of endangered species back in 2007.

Or maybe they weren't — I mean, maybe that's just fake news at this point, right?

It didn't help keep wolves from disappearing from the lower 48?

Photo from iStock.

Gray wolves were once nearly wiped off the face of the lower 48 states. Today, there are estimated to be about 1,900 wolves spread throughout various western states. And while their reintroduction to some areas has been contentious, I don't think you could honestly claim their numbers haven't improved.

What about this stellar sea lion?

Photo from iStock.

Stellar sea lions live in the North Pacific. First added to the list in 1990, by 2013, the species had recovered enough to be removed from the list.

Maybe it's surprising to learn that the American alligator was once on the list.

Photo from iStock.

Perhaps it's time to schedule a trip to Florida? The American alligator spent about 20 years on the list, but by 1987, it had recovered enough to be delisted.

Or the fastest member of the animal kingdom — the peregrine falcon.

Photo from iStock.

Peregrine falcons can dive at up to 240 miles per hour and actually have taken a liking to living on some of our skyscrapers. You might not think such an amazing animal would need protection, but they did once upon a time. They were removed from the list back in 1999.

But, in fact, all these animals (and 32 other species) have recovered to the point of delisting — thanks in part to the Endangered Species Act.

Altogether, 37 different species have been delisted due to recovery, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including humpback whales, the Louisiana black bear, and the brown pelican.

That's not to mention the other more than 1,600 plants and animals still protected under the law. While only a few have recovered enough to be fully delisted, there are still many success stories in there, like the Southern sea otter, the grizzly bear, and the California condor.

Claiming that the Endangered Species Act has never helped is ridiculous. It absolutely has helped keep the U.S. one of the world's conservation champions.

During the Feb. 15 meeting, former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Daniel Ashe called the law "the world's gold standard" for government conservation.

While no law is above a review, we shouldn't back down from acknowledging all that this landmark act has accomplished.

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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

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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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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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