U.K. conservationists have successfully brought back butterflies declared extinct in 1979

Some good news on the environment front this week, as conservationists in the U.K. counted some 750 large blue butterflies hatched from 1,100 larvae released last year in Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire, England. According to CNN, the release was the consummation of a 40-year conservation project, with the past five years spent preparing the area for the larvae and butterflies to be able to thrive.

The large blue butterfly, distinguishable by the row of black spots on its upper wings, was declared extinct in Britain in 1979 and is currently globally endangered. The larvae were brought from continental Europe, and though it's been 40 years since they were declared extinct in Britain, the butterfly hadn't been seen naturally in Rodborough Common in 150 years.


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Experts from the National Trust, Butterfly Conservation, the Limestone's Living Legacies Back from the Brink project, Natural England, Royal Entomological Society and the Minchinhampton and Rodborough Committees of Commoners all helped prepare the area for the butterflies. Prep included controlling the red ant population in Rodborough Common by restricting cattle grazing and controlling scrub cover. It also involved growing wild thyme and marjoram, which provide food and an egg-laying habitat for the large blue butterfly."

Butterflies are such sensitive creatures, and with the large blue's particular requirements they are real barometers for what is happening with our environment and the changing climate," Rodborough Commons area ranger Richard Evans said in a statement.

"Creating the right conditions for this globally endangered butterfly to not only survive but to hopefully thrive has been the culmination of many years work," he added. "One of the greatest legacies of the re-introduction is the power of working together to reverse the decline of threatened species and the benefit the habitat improvements will have for other plants, insects, birds and bats on the commons."
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.