Drill holes in some wood and put it outside. Good job — you just helped save the bees.
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Disneynature's Born In China

You know what's great? Animals.

This is not new information, I know. But in case you need a reminder...

Exhibit A: A baby seal making an entrance.


Exhibit B: This slow loris needs you to just give him a minute, please.

Exhibit C: A hedgehog enjoying bath or stuck upside down but either way is adorable.

Exhibit D: LOOK AT THIS PANDA'S TONGUE.

And Exhibit E: in which this baby bat is me, all the time, always.

See? You'd forgotten how great animals were, hadn't you?

There are some animals who need our help, though.

As the environment comes under increasing threat of harm, so do the animals that live in it. The good news is, there's a lot we can do right in our hometowns.

Here are 25 easy things you can do to get started on your path to becoming a wildlife warrior.

1. Create or restore your backyard wildlife habitat.

Find out what species live in your area, then add places for them to eat, drink, and sleep in your backyard.

2. And once you've done that, set up another one wherever you work!

3. Build a bee house.

Bees don't need much to make a home — just a cozy hole in some wood. Drill holes in your spare lumber and scatter them around your yard to give them someplace to live.

Image via iStock.

4. Start composting your waste.

It helps keep the soil rich, which in turn makes sure animals' natural plant food is happy and healthy! (Plus it cuts down on garbage waste.)

If soil had a mouth, it would be watering. Photo via elbrozzie/Flickr.

5. Learn how (and why) to shop for local, sustainable produce.

Non-locally sourced food uses up a lot of resources traveling to the grocery store. It's a lot better for the environment (and the animals that live in it) to shop locally, buying only what's in season.

6. If you live near a bat population, build an easy bat house to give them a place to rest.

Bringing a bat colony to your backyard will also cut down on the amount of mosquitoes hanging around. Bonus! Image via iStock.

7. Take this World Wildlife Fund pledge.

By doing so, you'll be committing to raise your voice in support of various environmental efforts around the world — and the WWF will help you find out where your efforts are most needed.

8. And apply to become a panda ambassador!

If you're feeling ambitious, apply to work in partnership with the WWF in your community.

9. Make a butterfly feeder, then put it near a window so you can admire its visitors!

10. Avoid buying products with microplastics, like face scrubs with plastic beads.

Tiny plastics might seem harmless, but they pollute the environment with chemicals and are dangerous to animals that swallow them.

11. Join the Endangered Species Coalition's activist network.

12. If you have large glass windows or doors, buy decals to prevent birds from colliding with them.

13. Learn how to care for your lawn and garden without using herbicides or pesticides.

It's actually not that hard. Undiluted white vinegar is an alternative to weed killer, and you can spread corn gluten in the spring to solve problems like dandelions and crabgrass.

14. Disinfect your birdbath to prevent the spread of disease.

15. Plant native, bee-friendly flowers in your yard.

Flowers like lavender, white clover, and goldenrod — just to name a few — provide our fragile bee population with homes to pollinate and populate. (Just make sure you're not introducing plant species that aren't native to your area.)

16. Buying souvenirs? Make sure they're not made from threatened or endangered species, like ivory or coral.

Image via iStock.

17. Participate in Clean Ocean Action's annual Beach Sweeps (or go out and do your own sweep whenever you're in the mood).

Clean Ocean Action's annual event not only serves to clean up beaches, it also provides scientists with data on pollution patterns that help them design solutions for the future.

18. Always cut up your six-pack soda rings before recycling them, and never let balloons loose outside.

Releasing balloons can seem like a cool idea, but it's devastating to nature. Balloons and bags that end up in the ocean create a hazard to turtles and other sea animals that mistake them for tasty jellyfish.

Image via iStock.

19. Avoid buying single-use items, like coffee pods, plastic water bottles, and disposable utensils.

Even if they're recyclable, it's still better for the Earth to get the permanent version and wash it between uses. The plastics in single-use items put harmful chemicals into animal environments, and it takes valuable resources (like pollutive fossil fuels) to melt them down and recycle them.

20. Build a frog pond in your backyard.

Image via iStock.

21. Sponsor an animal at your local zoo or through the World Wildlife Fund.

22. Find out what bills are currently being proposed to protect America's wild animals, then call your congressional representatives and ask them to support them.

23. Conserve water and electricity in your house by taking shorter showers, turning off electronics, and buying energy-efficient appliances.

Keeping our carbon footprint small helps slow climate change, which causes harm to animals that need a cold climate to live.

24. Only buy MSC-certified fish.

Certain populations are susceptible to overfishing, so make sure you're eating the right ones. There are over 20,000 certified sustainable seafoods to choose from with the Marine Stewardship Council, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Image via iStock.

25. Above all, stay informed.

The best way to help any animal species is to do research, get the facts, and find out more about how to get involved with organizations that are working to help.

There are plenty of things you can do at home to help save wildlife. From fun projects to small tweaks in your routine, simply being more mindful of the environment we inhabit can help us understand better what the animals around us need.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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