Beautiful photos of the Belize Barrier Reef, which just came off the endangered list.

UNESCO has officially removed the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the world's second largest barrier reef, from its list of endangered world heritage sites.

It's a big deal for environmentalists and the people of Belize themselves: After all, it was voters who overwhelmingly (96%) approved measures to ban oil exploration and improve foresting regulations along the 200-mile reef.

"In the last two years, especially in the last year, the government of Belize really has made a transformational shift," said Fanny Douvere, who coordinates UNESCO's marine program.


The reef is home to several threatened species who now have a fighting chance.

The Belize Barrier Reef's ecosystem is an incredible and complex mix that is home to mangroves, coastal estuaries, and lagoons. It's also home to threatened creatures like the marine turtle, the manatee, and the American marine crocodile.

Those waters are also incredibly popular with divers and other visitors. In fact, once it was revealed in 2011 that the Belize government sold off much of the area to developers, activists leapt into action to change that.

Just take a look at this stunning natural beauty.

Photo by 16:9 Clue/Flickr.

There's so much more work still to be done, but this is a huge victory.

There's a reason UNESCO listed the Belize Barrier Reef as being endangered back in 2009. Efforts there and along Australia's Great Barrier Reef are vital. Saving our oceans and the creates there ultimately means saving not only our planet, but ourselves.

All across the world there are places like Belize in need of help. It can be dispiriting to see how much damage we've already done to our planet.

However, there are real actions that can be taken to make a difference — and this is a great example.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."