I turned off the TV when they showed the river. 1 year later, I've tuned back in, and it's gorgeous.

The chemical spill that prevented hundreds of thousands of people from drinking, bathing in, or cooking with their tap water put West Virginia on the national news. At the time, everyone called it a crisis. Now, the community sees it as a turning point.

You might remember seeing this on the evening news on Jan. 9, 2014.

A chemical spill in the Elk River poisoned the water for the city of Charleston and many surrounding communities.


West Virginia has long had an anti-regulation culture. This kind of disaster is what comes from allowing chemical industries to self-regulate. They aren't super good at it.

If this is where the story ended, it would be a downer and a half.

Luckily, there's more to it.

Thousands of people, from all walks of life — including those who used to oppose environmental regulation — suddenly couldn't shower, cook, or wash their dishes. And they got angry.


They held vigils. They joined long-time environmentalists. They demanded some action.

Because they learned that we all live downstream.

And they got results.

The bill that went to the legislature, with their recommendations, passed in both chambers unanimously. The governor signed it.

It probably didn't hurt that the legislators couldn't get a bath either.

It started as a crisis, but it brought the community together. It taught them about their power when they worked as a group.

Because of this chemical spill, people who used to see each other as opponents now see each other as collaborators.

The fight isn't over yet.

There's a bill in the West Virginia legislature that would roll back a lot of those positive actions. The struggle never ends, but at least now there are thousands of concerned, educated citizens paying attention.

Heroes
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

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Planet
Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

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Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

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Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

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Well Being