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Before you share an MLK quote, understand that you're quoting a proud political radical

Before you share an MLK quote, understand that you're quoting a proud political radical

Every year around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, social media feeds get flooded with memes bearing Dr. King's face and words—snapshots of the man with a snippet of his message, wrapped neatly in a square package, easily digested by the masses.

We get bombarded by the "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" quote we all know and love. We get hit with "darkness cannot drive out darkness" memes that keep us feeling cozy in our comfort zones. We see "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear," over and over, and nod our heads in placid agreement. People of all stripes share MLK quotes that give us all the warm fuzzies, and we think, "Wow, what an amazing, peaceful, universally beloved man."


Credit Unknown

But there are two big problems with such memes.

1) Sharing one or two sentences drastically dilutes Dr. King's legacy, turning his core message into a socially neutral, politically palatable, let's-all-hold-hands-and-skip-together philosophy—one that challenges no one and betrays the radical reality of his work.

2) Such a whitewashing of King's message enables people to share his words in a way that actually upholds or overlooks the very injustices he was trying to fight.

RELATED: Steve Bannon claimed MLK would be proud of Trump. King's daughter shut him down.

For example, I've seen people say that people should be "judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" as an argument against Affirmative Action-type programs. I've seen people say "hate cannot drive out hate" while mischaracterizing a calling out of racial injustice as hatred. I've seen people quote King's "I have a dream" speech while asserting that talking about racism just perpetuates racism—an assertion King simply didn't abide.

People frequently twist King's words to fit their worldview, and in doing so, dishonor the man and his fight for true justice. The radical nature of his message seems to have been watered down into what people think he was—a gentle leader who advocated a non-violent approach to fighting for equality—instead of what he actually was—a passionate disrupter who constantly pushed boundaries and pulled no punches when calling out injustices of all kinds. Many Americans today would undoubtedly call him a "race-baiter" at best, and an "extremist thug" at worst.

We mustn't forget that King was considered a radical and a criminal, by both the U.S. government and much of mainstream America, during his lifetime. At the height of his activism, nearly two-thirds of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of King. And that disapproval didn't just come from the openly racist South. After being hit with a rock at a desegregation march in Chicago, King remarked, "I have seen many demonstrations in the South, but I have never seen anything so hostile and so hateful as I've seen here today."

King had strong words for those of us who think we're not racist. When I first read King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail—his response to a group of clergymen who agreed with his antiracism sentiments but criticized his "extreme" methods—I was blown away. I remember thinking that my education about Dr. King had been sorely lacking, that I'd never learned how much criticism he'd faced and how frequently he was considered an extremist by white moderates, and that I had no idea how he had directly challenged white Americans of goodwill. (In other words, people like me.)

The least we can do to honor King's life is to go beyond popular one-liners, take the time to read one of his most important works, and to meditate on the challenges he presented to us. You can read King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail in its entirety here, but I've included some excerpts below that highlight some of its main points.

For example, this passage explaining how peaceful activism doesn't mean avoiding tension and crisis:

"You may well ask: 'Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?' You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word 'tension.' I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation."

RELATED: Ad execs probably should have read the full MLK speech before making that commercial.

Or this passage about the "timing" of taking action against injustice:

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was 'well timed' in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.' We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'"

Many people who praise Dr. King would have called him a criminal if he were still alive today, as he advocated breaking unjust laws:

"One may well ask: 'How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?' The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"

He added that a just law can sometimes be applied unjustly, and that how one violates a law matters:

"Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

In addition, he pointed out that some of history's most unjust acts were legal, while some of the most righteous acts were illegal:

"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was 'legal' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was 'illegal.' It was 'illegal' to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws."

One of the most important points King makes in this letter is how white moderates who put law and order over justice do as much, if not more, harm to the cause of justice as outright racists:

"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

How about this bit about "the appalling silence of the good people"?

"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right."

And finally, some words about law and order and the role of the police in "preventing violence":

"Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping 'order' and 'preventing violence.' I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department...

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes."

As King's daughter, Bernice, pointed out on his birthday, January 15, "The authentic, comprehensive King makes power uneasy & privilege unhinged." Such a description makes one wonder how Dr. King would be regarded today if he had lived and continued to directly call out the racial injustice that still exists in our society.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

The grandmother was suspicious.

A grandmother always felt her middle granddaughter Lindsay, 15, looked slightly different from the rest of the family because she had blonde, curly hair, while the rest of her siblings’ hair was dark “I thought genetics was being weird and I love her,” she wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum.

But things became serious after Linday’s parents “banned” her from taking things a step further and getting a DNA test. If the family was sure their daughter was theirs, why would they forbid her from seeking clarity in the situation? After the parents laid down the law, the situation started to seem a little suspicious.

“I told my son and [daughter-in-law] that there was something fishy around her birth she needed to know. They denied it and told me to leave it alone,” the grandma wrote.


Lindsay wouldn’t give up her quest. She approached her biology teacher, who admitted that it was “odd” for her to have such different traits. This confusion was too much for Lindsay, so she went to her grandmother for help. “She came to me distressed, asking me to buy a DNA test since she needs to know,” the grandmother wrote.

dna tests, paternity tests, grandmothers

She had blonde, curly hair. But her siblings all had black hair.

via Allef Vinicius/Unsplash

The grandmother purchased a DNA test and it proved their suspicions. “Long story short, she is not her mother's kid,” the grandmother wrote. “My son got someone else pregnant and her bio mom gave her up.”

The interesting thing was that Lindsay was a middle child. So, the dad had a baby with another woman while he was with his wife. This revelation begs the question: How did the family suddenly have a baby out of nowhere without people being suspicious?

“They were on the other side of the country when she was born, and I met Lindsey when she was about 6 months old. Really not hard to hide the whole thing,” the grandmother wrote. “Our family has a history of miscarriages, so it’s common to drop news about a baby late in the pregnancy. They did the same with their oldest and didn't think anything about it.”

The big revelation has caused friction in the family. The family no longer talks to the grandmother, which makes Lindsay even more furious about the situation.

Should the grandmother have taken such drastic steps if she knew what could happen if her suspicions were true? The commenters on Reddit overwhelmingly supported the grandmother’s decision. The big reason was that Lindsay needed to know her family history for medical reasons.

"Your son and his wife suck for lying to her until she is 15 about something so important and trying to keep lying to her even after she obviously started to question things. There are medical reasons a person might need to know what their genetics are/are not, and if you hadn’t helped her, she would have found out some other way," Shake_Speare423 wrote.

Another commenter noted that protecting the parents’ lie wasn’t nearly as important as Lindsay’s mental health.

"People have a right to know their genetic heritage. Lying about adoption is linked to increased suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression. You put her safety and comfort ahead of your son’s preferences. Parental rights do not have greater value than a child’s right to access comprehensive medical care, and hiding an adoption does precisely that. Maybe some things, like a child staying healthy, should matter more than a parent's right to lie, gaslight and manipulate their child as they see fit," RemembrancerLirael added.

The commenters overwhelmingly supported the grandma for putting herself into an uncomfortable situation to protect her granddaughter’s mental and physical health. However, one commenter noted that she could have gone about it in a less polarizing way.

“Bit out of the norm for the responses here, but you should have gone through your son [and daughter-in-law] and convinced them. Told them that the biology teacher had highlighted that she had traits that didn't make sense, etc. and convinced them that Lindsey would find out either way,” PhilMcGraw wrote. “It would have allowed them to find a way to tell her without it being forced on them angrily. A DNA test is the absolute worst way to be told. I'm sure they would have much rather told her than let her find out by a DNA test if that is what was coming.”


This article originally appeared on 11.29.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Joy

Texas family takes a $40 million hit to turn their massive ranch into a public park

They chose conservation and the public good over a lucrative private development deal.

RGK Ranch will become a 1500-acre public park outside of Austin, Texas.

Most people will never see a million dollars in their lifetime, much less tens of millions of dollars. Even fewer would pass up an easy opportunity to become $40 million richer, regardless of how wealthy they already are.

That's what a family in Central Texas did when private real estate developers from around the world offered upwards of $130 for their sprawling 1507-acre ranch. Instead of taking one of those huge real estate deals, they chose to sell RGK Ranch to Travis County, Texas, for a reduced purchase price of $90 million—$30 million below its appraised value—so the land could be preserved as a public park.

Nadya Scott and her brother Gregory Kozmetsky inherited the ranch from their parents, George and Ronya Kozmetsky, who purchased the land in 1970. The elder Kozmetsky was a technology innovator and co-founder of Teledyne Inc. who passed away in 2003. He was also an educator and philanthropist who gave away millions of dollars through the RGK Foundation. Now his descendants are donating tens of millions of dollars worth of their family's land rights for the public good.


The ranch sits outside of Austin, which has seen record growth over the past decade as America's fastest-growing metro area. The family credits Nadya Scott, Kozmetsky's daughter, with the vision to make the ranch into a public park.

“I want to preserve the land for future generations because I have seen what happens when the land around a city becomes so valuable that it is sold, and little wild area is preserved,” said Nadya Scott in a press release. “I believe in protecting unique land for the future and I am glad that people before me also wanted to protect land so that I can explore beautiful areas in my travels. The RGK Ranch is a beautiful and unique part of Texas.”

Scott's son, Jordan, told Texas Monthly that she had been inspired by picnicking and hiking at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Los Angeles, on land that had once belonged to the film star’s ranch, when they lived in California. “Those experiences truly planted a seed for [my mother] to see she could create a similar experience for people in Austin,” he said.

Jordan Scott also said in a press release, “Austin and Central Texas are beloved by the Scott and Kozmetsky families. The cherished memories our family created on this land will now be shared with our community. I am honored by my mother’s decision to preserve and protect this land.”

In the U.S. around 40% of land is publicly owned, while 60% is private. But state by state, the percentages vary widely. In Alaska, for instance, nearly 90% of land is public and the rest privately owned. In Texas, less than 5% of land is public while over 95% is privately owned. Public land is a big part of conservation efforts as it can be protected by law. Natural areas that are preserved for the public, such as our National and State Parks, serve to absorb harmful carbon in our atmosphere as well as keep ecosystems healthy. In states like Texas where very little land is protected, public lands are even more important.

The park will play a vital role in protecting the environment, acting as a natural filter, absorbing rainwater to contribute to the aquifer, and contributing excess run-off water directly to Lake Travis—a huge benefit since Travis County faces water scarcity concerns. The park will also serve the wildlife of the area, creating corridors for animals to wander from habitat to habitat.

“Due to the families’ generosity and the foresight of Travis County, a large and very valuable property with significant conservation value will become parkland, benefiting wildlife, water quality, and future park goers in our community,” said Jeff Francell, associate director of land protection for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, an environmental nonprofit organization that helped facilitate the transaction.

County Judge Andy Brown, who helped lead the efforts to acquire the land for the county, added, “The Scott family's generosity also ensures that future generations will have the chance to experience the beauty and ecological value of this land. We look forward to collaborating with the community to develop a park that reflects the diverse needs and interests of our residents.”

The county will create a master plan for the land, but according to Texas Monthly, a home on the ranch is already slated to be turned an events center. The Scott family will retain ownership of 90 acres of land adjacent to what, but Travis County will have right of first refusal to buy that land if the family decides to sell in the future.

The park is expected to open to the public in late 2025.

Science

Americans see gardening changes as 'plant hardiness zones' shift across half the U.S.

Here's a quick tool to find out if your zone has changed due to warmer temperatures.

Photo by Jonathan Kemper on Unsplash, Map by USDA-ARS and Oregon State University (Public Domain)

The USDA has issued a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Millions of American households have a garden of some sort, whether they grow vegetables, fruits flowers or other plants. Gardening has always been a popular hobby, but more Americans turned to tending plants during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic for both stress relief and to grow their own food so they could make less trips to the store. For many people, it's a seasonal ritual that's therapeutic and rewarding.

But a shift is occurring in the gardening world. Now, due to rising temperature data, half the country find themselves in a different "plant hardiness zone"—the zones that indicate what plants work well in an area and when to plant them. Gardeners rely on knowing their hardiness zone to determine what to plant and when, but they haven't been updated since 2012.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its Plant Hardiness Zone Map in late 2023, months before people in most of the country start planning their planting. We saw the 10 hottest summers ever recorded in 174 years of climate data between 2014 and 2023, but hardiness zones are actually determined by the coldest winter temperatures each year. Winters are warming at an even faster pace than summers, according to nonpartisan research and communications group Climate Central, but that may or may not be the entire reason behind the zone changes.

The USDA acknowledges that some of the zone shifts could be due to climate change but cautions against using them as hard evidence for it since factors such as improved data collection also contribute to changes in the map.

people planting flowers

Gardening can be a solo or community endeavor.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

"Temperature updates to plant hardiness zones are not necessarily reflective of global climate change because of the highly variable nature of the extreme minimum temperature of the year, as well as the use of increasingly sophisticated mapping methods and the inclusion of data from more weather stations," the USDA wrote in November 2023. "Consequently, map developers involved in the project cautioned against attributing temperature updates made to some zones as reliable and accurate indicators of global climate change (which is usually based on trends in overall average temperatures recorded over long time periods)."

At the same time, Chris Daly, director of the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University that developed the map with the USDA, told NPR, "Over the long run, we will expect to see a slow shifting northward of zones as climate change takes hold."

As an example of zone shifting, Dallas, Texas, was classified as Zone 8a in 2012, when data showed the coldest winter temperature in the city was between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit on average. In 2023, with data showing the coldest winter temps falling between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it's been shifted to Zone 8b.

Some zone shifts resulted in moving to an entirely new zone number, such as Seattle shifting from Zone 8b to Zone 9a. The overall trend was for zones to be pushed northward, but not all areas saw a shift. NPR has a helpful tool here in which you can enter your zip code, see what zone your city was previously in, what zone it's in now, and the temperature changes that caused the shift.

The bottom line is if you have a gardening book with a hardiness zones map printed before 2024, it's time for an updated map. Or check online to see what zone you fall in now to give your garden the best chance of thriving this year.

@southwestair/TikTok

Watch this and infuse some joy into your day.

A bride-to-be was recently en route to Austin with a few of her gal pals to celebrate her bachelorette party. But little did she know that she’d be getting a cherished memory long before she reached her destination.

A flight attendant for their Southwest flight announced over the PA system “we have royalty onboard,” and that this woman, Bri Kunkle, would soon be married.

“She is quite the princess,” the attendant said before asking the other passengers for a favor.

“I need a little help from every lady on the plane that is married or has been married. I’m going to walk up and down the aisle, and I’m going to give out a napkin,” she instructed.

“Get out a pen or something to write with, share amongst yourselves, if you would take a moment to write a little note of encouragement or piece of advice. What was something you would like to have known before you became a bride? If you could write that down so that I can pass that off to her, and she can hold on to those for a long time to remember this specific trip.”

In the clip, we see an emotional Bri receive her stack of sweet paper notes, along with a crown and snack sash.

@southwestair Its giving ✨princess bride✨ @bri kunk #feelgood #goodnews #bride #bridetok #bachelorette #southwest #celebrate ♬ Positive background music such as play and games(1251730) - earbrojp

Then the video ends with a look at the insightful messages she received.

“Before you say ‘I do’ make sure you know who you are as an individual, so you can grow together as patterns in life, in a healthy way. Congrats and enjoy the ride,” one note read.

Someone else wrote, “Marrying your best friend is such a special moment. Congrats! Remember to enjoy the little things with your partner! It’s you both against anything, and as long as you attack life together with kindness and honesty you’ll succeed. I wish you a lifetime of happiness. Now go have fun!”

Many spoke to the importance of appreciating the little things and communicating openly…but also remembering to avoid difficult conversations until hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness have subsided. As one person put it, “it’s okay to go to bed angry.”

There were even a few bits of pragmatic advice for the big wedding day, like this one:

“Have you MOH hold a tissue for you during the ceremony so you can gesture for it if you need to wipe away tears. And plan all you can beforehand, but on the day, just relax, enjoy, and bask in marrying your person! Congrats!”

The wholesome video was originally posted to Southwest Airlines TikTok account, and reposted by Kunk herself, who wrote in her caption “my heart is full and now I have to go make a scrapbook of these.” Over in the comments section of her accounts, many viewers swooned over how this special moment encapsulated the magic of “girlhood.”

“Something about all these women's handwriting makes me feel so emotional. The young, the old, the way the old women all added the date. I love women. What a special moment with a bunch of strangers,” one person shared.

Well said. Kudos to the flight attendant who gave this future bride a memory she’ll cherish forever.

A Yorkie and a guy with a mullet.

The mullet is a hairstyle that became prominent in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and was popular among hockey players, country singers and anyone who drove a Camaro. But over the years, the look has become a hallmark of tackiness that few wear seriously.

However, even though the mullet is passé among humans, a dog in Canada makes the case that it looks pretty stylish on canines.

Jeff Cole, a voiceover actor and podcaster, recently shared the mullet he gave to his 5-year-old Yorkie mix, Biggie, on TikTok. The video was a huge hit, with over 7.2 million views. "Who just got a haircut? Who just got a fresh new mullet?!" Cole asks in the video.


Overjoyed, Cole lifts Biggie in the air and proclaims: "Is it Biggie, boy? Yay!"

#mullet #yorkie #dogmullet

@thevoicevendor

#mullet #yorkie #dogmullet

Cole rescued BIggie in 2021 and the little Yorkie has had the business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back look for some time. "He's been rocking the mullet for about two years. I used to have the same cut and Biggie thought we should match," Cole told Newsweek. "We were twinsies for a while and people loved it! After a while, I started to look like a creep, so I cut mine, but Biggie did not have it, so he kept it."

The comment section is ablaze with adoration for Biggie’s mullet. "Business in the front, PAWTY in the back," gushed JBode1205. "What in the Tiger King is that?" exclaimed Krysta.

Although the short-on-top, long-in-the-back hairstyle can be traced back to the 6th century BCE, the name “mullet” is believed to have been coined by the hip-hop/punk artists Beastie Boys. They released an ode to the haircut, “Mullet Head,” as a B-Side to their 1994 single “Sure Shot.”