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Heroes

Cigarette butts are gross and smelly, and once they're on the street, they don't go away. Until now.

We sent a team of volunteers to Union Square to see how many cigarette butts they could pick up in an hour. Here's what they found.

A new campaign from DoSomething.org and truth is seeking to put an end to a major smoking-related problem, without shaming smokers.

To do this, they're raising awareness about where cigarette butts do (and don't) end up when smokers are done smoking them.


FACT: Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item.

Eww. Gross.

The new campaign is called, "Get the Filter Out" and it has a noble goal: to encourage people to pick up littered cigarette butts in their communities.

FACT: 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts end up as toxic trash every year.

That's kind of a lot. Too big to even wrap your head around.

FACT: Cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable.

When you throw your cigarette butt on the ground, it doesn't biodegrade and disappear. It just sits there. And sits there. And leaches harmful toxins into the ground. And then sits there some more. It never goes away.

Not unless someone picks it up and disposes of it properly.

To understand the scope of this problem, Upworthy brought a group of volunteers to Union Square in NYC.

The goal? To see how many cigarette butts we could pick up in an hour.

The result was a bit jarring. Literally.

They filled a huge jar with cigarette butts.

What's so cool about this campaign is that the goal is not to shame people out of smoking. There are plenty of other campaigns doing that. The "Get The Filter Out" campaign is all about raising awareness about the massive environmental problem of cigarette butts collecting on the ground as litter.

According to truth, 23% of teens smoked in 2000. As of 2014, only 8% of teens smoke. That's a huge decline in teenage smokers, but (perhaps more importantly for the environment) it's also a lot fewer cigarette butts being tossed out into the street.

So, really, I dare you.

Grab some gloves (seriously, make sure you have gloves) and a plastic resealable bag, and spend 10 minutes in your neighborhood collecting littered butts. The environment will thank you.

Check out what happened when we went to Union Square below:

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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The gift that keeps on giving

The Giving Keys inspire wearers to dream, create and pay it forward

The Giving Keys is a jewelry company that's a bit unconventional, only because they believe that all of their gifts are meant to be regifted. It's a pay it forward, give on to others type of mentality and it in turn gives their pieces that little bit of extra meaning. Each of their keys comes with a story attached, once you decide exactly what that is...

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10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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