The ocean is the heart of our planet. It needs our help to be healthy.
The ocean covers over 71% of the Earth’s surface and serves as our planet’s heart. Ocean currents circulate vital heat, moisture, and nutrients around the globe to influence and regulate our climate, similar to the human circulatory system. Cool, right?
Our ocean systems provide us with everything from fresh oxygen to fresh food. We need it to survive and thrive—and when the ocean struggles to function healthfully, the whole world is affected.
Pollution, overfishing, and climate change are the three biggest challenges preventing the ocean from doing its job, and it needs our help now more than ever. Humans created the problem; now humans are responsible for solving it.
#BeOceanWise is a global rallying cry to do what you can for the ocean, because we need the ocean and the ocean needs us. If you’re wondering how—or if—you can make a difference, the answer is a resounding YES. There are a myriad of ways you can help, even if you don’t live near a body of water. For example, you can focus on reducing the amount of plastic you purchase for yourself or your family.
Another easy way to help clean up our oceans is to be aware of what’s known as the “dirty dozen.” Every year, scientists release an updated list of the most-found litter scattered along shorelines. The biggest culprit? Single-use beverage and food items such as foam cups, straws, bottle caps, and cigarette butts. If you can’t cut single-use plastic out of your life completely, we understand. Just make sure to correctly recycle plastic when you are finished using it. A staggering 3 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans annually. Imagine the difference we could make if everyone recycled!
The 2022 "Dirty Dozen" ListOcean Wise
If you live near a shoreline, help clean it up! Organize or join an effort to take action and make a positive impact in your community alongside your friends, family, or colleagues. You can also tag @oceanwise on social if you spot a beach that needs some love. The location will be added to Ocean Wise’s system so you can submit data on the litter found during future Shoreline Cleanups. This data helps Ocean Wise work with businesses and governments to stop plastic pollution at its source. In Canada, Ocean Wise data helped inform a federal ban on unnecessary single-use plastics. Small but important actions like these greatly help reduce the litter that ends up in our ocean.
Ocean Wise, a conservation organization on a mission to restore and protect our oceans, is focused on empowering and educating everyone from individuals to governments on how to protect our waters. They are making conservation happen through five big initiatives: monitoring and protecting whales, fighting climate change and restoring biodiversity, innovating for a plastic-free ocean, protecting and restoring fish stocks, and finally, educating and empowering youth. The non-profit believes that in order to rebuild a resilient and vibrant ocean within the next ten years, everyone needs to take action.
Become an Ocean Wise ally and share your knowledge with others. The more people who know how badly the ocean needs our help, the better! Now is a great time to commit to being a part of something bigger and get our oceans healthy again.
She didn’t want the girl to “ruin” her photos of the trip.
A 42-year-old mother wondered whether she did the right thing by disciplining her 18-year-old daughter, Abby, who disinvited a friend from vacation because of her weight. The mother asked people on Reddit for their opinion.
For some background, Abby had struggled with her weight for many years, so she went to her mother for help. The two set up a program where Abby was given a reward for every milestone she achieved.
“Four months ago, she asked that I don't get her any more rewards and add it up to her birthday gift, and for her gift she wants a vacation I will pay for, for her and her friends instead of the huge party I had promised for her 18th. I said OK,” the mother wrote.
So, instead of a series of small gifts, Abbey wanted one large one, a vacation with two of her friends. The vacation would also celebrate Abby’s 18th birthday. The mother agreed and booked the trip for the 3 girls.
“Fast forward to last weekend, we started preparing for her vacation,” the mother wrote. “I called the other two girls' parents to confirm the girls would be and learned Abby's best friend Betty isn't going. Betty loves traveling and was looking forward to the vacation, so I asked why. Apparently, Abby uninvited her because ‘she is too chubby to look good in pictures.’”
When the mother approached Abby about the situation, she doubled down on her comments to Betty. “I calmly talked to Abby and reminded her how Betty would feel being left out for such a reason, and she went off with, 'I didn't work so hard for this vacation so my pictures will be ruined,'" the mother wrote.
Abby then asked Betty to contact her mom and say that she decided not to go on the trip because she wasn’t feeling well. Betty refused to lie, and Abby sent her a “ton of hateful texts and body-shaming insults.” Betty shared screenshots of the texts to the mother, and she promptly canceled the entire vacation.
Now, Abby’s father, who shares 50-50 custody with the mother, is livid, and Abby won’t speak to the mother. The mom asked the Reddit AITA forum to see if she was in the wrong, and the commenters overwhelmingly said she did the right thing. "Some of my friends agree on my approach, while others think I should have put my daughter first,” the mother said.
The most popular commenter was short and to the point.
"Teaching your daughter to not be a horrible human being IS putting her first," Due_Laugh_3851 wrote. "I commend your strength and parenting skills. This was the right thing to do and would've been hard to do. Well done, you deserve to go on the holiday yourself," Loud_Wallaby737 added.
"... uninviting someone because you only want skinny people in your pictures is a disgusting attitude frankly. Sorry, I just don't find a nicer word for it. I am totally with you that this needs to have consequences, and while I'm very much against breaking promises, I do believe this is an exception. Like you said, your daughter knows what it feels like. She (but anyone really) should be supportive of friends wanting to lose weight if that is the case and if it isn't they she should just mind her own
business body," SensitiveSires wrote.
One of the few people who thought she was in the wrong believed that the mother set her daughter up for failure.
"[You're wrong] for giving your daughter who is a child rewards for weight loss. Her behavior of value based on weight shows she likely has developed disordered eating patterns and attitudes and this will cause her a lifetime of pain," tamtheprogram wrote.
The silver lining to the story is that many people who commented said that even though her daughter did something very hurtful, she’s still a teenager and there’s a chance she’ll realize the error of her ways.
"The daughter is just a teenager, she still has a lot of time to learn and grow up. Writing off her entire future as a mean girl when it’s very rare to be the same exact person you were at 18 as you grow up is a lot," Stephapeaz wrote.
1. You made her cry ... a lot.
There it was, clear as day, two blue lines staring back at me from the small pregnancy test I had just purchased.
One line = not pregnant.
Two lines = pregnant.
Photo via iStock.
Yup, I was definitely pregnant.
My heart was pounding.
My head was spinning.
My stomach was churning.
I was nervous, excited, scared, and ecstatic all at the same time.
This was actually happening! After years of dreaming, preparing for, and anticipating this day, it was finally here. I was going to be a mother.
Photo via iStock.
Little did I know that in nine short months, I would begin the most exhausting, life-changing, heart-wrenching, but indescribably rewarding journey of my life.
In nine months, I would learn the price of motherhood firsthand. I would know exactly what it takes to be a mother. I would gain a whole new understanding of and gratitude for the beautiful woman I call Mom.
I would learn about things mothers experience that their children often know very little about.
Here are 10 things your mom never told you.
1. You made her cry ... a lot.
She cried when she found out she was pregnant. She cried as she gave birth to you. She cried when she first held you. She cried with happiness. She cried with fear. She cried with worry. She cried because she feels so deeply for you. She felt your pain and your happiness and she shared it with you, whether you realized it or not.
2. She wanted that last piece of pie.
But when she saw you look at it with those big eyes and lick your mouth with that tiny tongue, she couldn't eat it. She knew it would make her much happier to see your little tummy be filled than hers.
3. It hurt.
When you pulled her hair, it hurt; when you grabbed her with those sharp fingernails that were impossible to cut, it hurt; when you bit her while drinking milk, that hurt, too. You bruised her ribs when you kicked her from her belly; you stretched her stomach out for nine months; you made her body contract in agonizing pain as you entered this world.
4. She was always afraid.
From the moment you were conceived, she did all in her power to protect you. She became your mama bear. She was that lady who wanted to say no when the little girl next door asked to hold you and who cringed when she did because in her mind no one could keep you as safe as she herself could. Her heart skipped two beats with your first steps. She stayed up late to make sure you got home safe and woke up early to see you off to school. With every stubbed toe and little stumble, she was close by; she was ready to snatch you up with every bad dream or late-night fever. She was there to make sure you were OK.
She stayed up late to make sure you got home safe and woke up early to see you off to school.
5. She knows she's not perfect.
She is her own worst critic. She knows all her flaws and sometimes hates herself for them. She is hardest on herself when it comes to you, though. She wanted to be the perfect mom, to do nothing wrong — but because she is human, she made mistakes. She is probably still trying to forgive herself for them. She wishes with her whole heart that she could go back in time and do things differently, but she can't, so be kind to her and know she did the best she knew how to do.
6. She watched you as you slept.
There were nights when she was up 'til 3 a.m. praying that you would finally fall asleep. She could hardly keep her eyes open as she sang to you, and she would beg you to "please, please fall asleep." Then, when you finally fell asleep, she would lay you down, and all her tiredness would disappear for a short second as she sat by your bedside looking down at your perfect cherub face, experiencing more love than she knew was possible, despite her worn-out arms and aching eyes.
7. She carried you a lot longer than nine months.
You needed her to. So she did. She would learn to hold you while she cleaned; she would learn to hold you while she ate; she would even hold you while she slept because it was the only way she could sometimes. Her arms would get tired, her back would hurt, but she held you still because you wanted to be close to her. She snuggled you, loved you, kissed you, and played with you. You felt safe in her arms; you were happy in her arms; you knew you were loved in her arms, so she held you, as often and as long as you needed.
Her arms would get tired, her back would hurt, but she held you still because you wanted to be close to her.
8. It broke her heart every time you cried.
There was no sound as sad as your cries or sight as horrible as the tears streaming down your perfect face. She did all in her power to stop you from crying, and when she couldn't stop your tears, her heart would shatter into a million little pieces.
9. She put you first.
She went without food, without showers, and without sleep. She always put your needs before her own. She would spend all day meeting your needs, and by the end of the day, she would have no energy left for herself. But the next day, she would wake up and do it all over again because you meant that much to her.
10. She would do it all again.
Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs anyone can do, and it will take you to your very limits sometimes. You cry, you hurt, you try, you fail, you work, and you learn. But, you also experience more joy than you thought was possible and feel more love than your heart can contain. Despite all the pain, grief, late nights, and early mornings you put your mom through, she would do it all again for you because you are worth it to her.
So, next time you see her, tell your mom thank you; let her know that you love her. She can never hear it too many times.
This article originally appeared on 05.27.16
Her haunting performance is a must-see.
Dance is a unique art form in that the medium it utilizes is the human body itself. Simply through purposeful and graceful control of movement, dancers can express and evoke joy, sadness, fear, confusion—the whole range of human emotion. And when dancing is done well, it's utterly mesmerizing.
Such is the case with Mariandrea, a 14-year-old from Mexico who auditioned for America's Got Talent in July of 2023 and wowed both the judges and the audience with her dance performance. She has been dancing since she was 5, and as Simon Cowell pointed out, it's clear that she was born to do this.
After showing off her sparkling personality during the pre-performance interview, Mariandrea danced to a cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World," personifying the song in her performance. But it wasn't just her intentional movement that reflected the emotional complexity of the ever-popular hit. Her facial expressions, ranging from subtle fear to a clown-like smile to genuine sorrow to angry defiance, change on a dime, adding an acting element to her routine that takes it to the next level.
Add in the incredible control she has of her body as it twists and turns and seems to defy gravity, both gracefully flowing and disturbingly contorting, and it's easy to see why she earned a standing ovation and enthusiastic praise from all four judges.
For someone so young to have such a strong grasp of her craft is quite extraordinary, and people were wowed by her talent as well as her showmanship.
"I had to watch this more than once. Her smile, energy, and face reminds me of a young Natalie Portman. You can tell she is more than a dancer also, very intelligent, expressive, talented, yes acting too. Wow! Congratulations!" shared one commenter.
"This young lady has a very bright future ahead of her! The passion that she emanated while dancing was above and beyond what we have seen in half the dancers that are older than her... Can't wait to see what she does next!!!" wrote another.
"Stunned. I would have given her a golden buzzer. The sharpness, flexibility, timing, theatrics, and costume use. 10/10," shared another.
One commenter pointed out that her dance felt like a monologue, and another person called it "absolute art." Many people expressed disappointment that she didn't receive the Golden Buzzer, which would propel her immediately to the final round. But if her other performances are anything like this one, she's got a pretty decent chance of making it to the finals without it.
"This thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it’s still going."
There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.
There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.
A team of researchers at UCI had been experimenting with nanowires for potential use in batteries, but found that over time the thin, fragile wires would break down and crack after too many charging cycles. A charge cycle is when a battery goes from completely full to completely empty and back to full again.
But one day, on a whim, Thai coated a set of gold nanowires in manganese dioxide and a Plexiglas-like electrolyte gel.
"She started to cycle these gel capacitors, and that's when we got the surprise," said Reginald Penner, chair of the university's chemistry department. "She said, 'this thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it's still going.' She came back a few days later and said 'it's been cycling for 30,000 cycles.' That kept going on for a month."
This discovery is mind-blowing because the average laptop battery lasts 300 to 500 charge cycles. The nanobattery developed at UCI made it though 200,000 cycles in three months. That would extend the life of the average laptop battery by about 400 years. The rest of the device would have probably gone kaput decades before the battery, but the implications for a battery that that lasts hundreds of years are pretty startling.
"The big picture is that there may be a very simple way to stabilize nanowires of the type that we studied," Penner said. "If this turns out to be generally true, it would be a great advance for the community." Not bad for just fooling around in the laboratory.
This article originally appeared 12.22.22
12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.
In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.
In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.
One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.
The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.
16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.
Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.
The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.
Photo by Dan Janzen.
"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.
When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."
The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).
"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.
The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.
Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.
The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.
The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.
Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.
In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.
"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."
Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.
In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.
Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.
In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.
Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.
The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.
Photo by Dan Janzen.
"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.
The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.
Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.
Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.
In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.
The sign after clearing away the vines.
Photo by Tim Treuer.
"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.
19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.
This article originally appeared on 08.23.17
Who was this stranger, and what did they know?
Lake Fontana, A Brooklyn-based TikTokker, received a text message from a stranger in January of 2022, and it completely upended what she knew about her family. But it also taught her an important lesson about the relationships that matter in life.
“About a year ago now, on January 9, I got a text message telling me to get a DNA test from Ancestry, and I think it’s fake,” she shared on TikTok. “I FaceTime my friend, and I’m like, ‘Listen to this.’ And she’s like, ‘I swear my gut is telling me this is real. You need to respond.’”
The mystery person who reached out to Lane also made a burner Facebook account and reached out to her on that platform as well. “You have other family you might not be aware of,’” the mystery person texted her.
To learn the truth, Lane reached out to her mother. She admitted that the man who raised her wasn’t her father. It was a man that she knew briefly in college when she was 35. “I almost fell off my f**king chair,” Lane explained. “She had an affair with a guy ten years younger than her when she was in college. ‘It was a one-time thing, but he even saw her on campus and said, ‘Is that mine?’ and she denied it.”
Then Lane received the results from Ancestry and learned the truth: her father was a British man who lives in California. The “mystery person” who reached out to her was his nephew.
Lane’s biological father had attempted to get in touch with Lane over the years but was threatened by her mother. “So what did he do? He followed me on social media my entire life. He watched me date my boyfriend, get married, have babies, everything. All from the outside. Not able to know me,” she said.
The biological father longed to hear her voice, so he called the salon where she works to ask the hours and then hung up. He wanted to fly out and get his haircut by her, but his wife was against it because, given their resemblance, she might figure things out pretty quickly.
Lane and her biological father finally met and spent 5 days together, but things didn’t go as she hoped.
Replying to @rykoda #foryoupage #fyp #ancestrydnatestresults #dnaresults #storytime #viral
“Coming from a broken family, there's like this hole inside of me. I guess like was hoping that he was gonna fix me and I really tried to go into it with like an open mind and low expectations,” she said in a TikTok video. “I felt like he was not interested in what I had to say. I felt like I was stupid. I felt like he didn't like me,” she continued. “I mean, I'm a very warm, talkative, funny, goofy person and he is not like that. So it could just be who he is. He could even be just trying to respect me as an adult. But, um, our interactions left me feeling very confused and very invalidated.”
The confusion with meeting her biological father made her relationship with the man who raised her seem even more important.
“Between him and I not a lot changes, like, that's still my dad,” she said. “I'm still his daughter. My kids are still his grandkids. You know, like, he Facetimes my son every day. My son's named after him. Like, I have his signature on the back of my neck. That's my dad.”
Lane is taking her relationship with the man she calls her “Biodad” in stride. But after all the changes in her life, she’s happy to know the truth. “I'm just taking it at my own pace,” she said. “I just feel like I have 2 dads now, which is a good thing. The more, the merrier.”
Replying to @ashleey.victoria