Is it wrong to feed wild things?

Over 11 million people liked what he did, but some say it was wrong.

Is this man making a mistake?

João Silvestrini from São Paulo, Brazil, posted a video on Facebook of one of his daily visits from a young swallowtail hummingbird. It's a totally heartwarming scene — he calls from his kitchen window, and the bird slips inside and darts around a feeder. All the while, the gentleman keeps up a string of chatter — to us and to the bird.


It really is a lovely moment ... BUT —

Some people sharing the video judged him by declaring, "leave wildlife alone." The argument for this is that feeding and taming wildlife sets a bad example and likely does more harm than good.

So, was he wrong?

I say no. And here's why.

GIF via Giphy.

It's true, feeding animals can be dangerous — and mostly for the wild things:

  • Pop-Tarts don't grow in the wild (i.e., people food isn't good for animals).
  • Getting animals used to you can put them at risk for getting hurt by other, not-so-nice people.
  • Feeding wild animals means they get close to you, pets, and each other in a way that can spread disease.
  • What starts out cute can become a bad habit (e.g., a raccoon scratching at your screen at 2 a.m. looking for a snack).

But feeding them is often our easiest way of making a connection. And as humans, we crave that connection in a big way.

From the time we are children, we begin building deep, emotional relationships — both real and imagined — with animals. I'm not just talking about household pets either. Think about all of the animals in origin stories from indigenous people. Or how about the books we read as a kids: "Winnie-the-Pooh"? "Charlotte's Web"? "The Jungle Book"? Or what about the origin stories of Spider-Man, Wolverine, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? The trips to the zoo? For example, check out the animal love shared by this cutie on Humans of New York.

And the fascination doesn't end there. Even as adults, it seems that many of us feel a bit desperate for some kind of connection to the animal world. After all, animals do rule the Internet.

It makes sense. Whether or not you feel any personal, emotional connection to animals, the reality is that our cities are growing, and so is the wildlife in them.

We physically share their space and our lives are really interconnected.


You affect animals by whether or not you plant flowers (even in a window box, the right plants will delight bees, butterflies, or hummingbirds), you let your cat go outside without a bell, you toss picnic leavings in the bushes, or you take the time to help a wounded wild thing.

I once encountered a duck with one of those triple-barbed fishhooks caught on the underside of its wing. Lacking any other way of catching it, I pulled off my sweater and used it like a net to toss over the duck's wings and head so I could pick it up and carry it to a nearby vet. The woman at the desk admitted the duck and — as I stood there in my bra — asked me if I needed my sweater back. Oops. That's how instinctual my desire to hold and help this animal was. And I know I'm not the only one who has been there.

If we as humans crave a connection with other animals and believe that building relationships with some of the wonderful creatures who share this earth with us is part of our humanity, it doesn't make sense to have hard and fast rules that separate us from them.

So how should we interact with wildlife? The best answer is "Do it mindfully."

The Internet makes it darn easy to find out about all kinds of urban critters. It'll tell you that scruffy looking little bird hopping about under the bushes is probably a fledgling and its parents have their eyes on it. Or about those birds making a racket up your chimney or what the large bees want with your back door. You can learn what's harmful to them and what's helpful. And, of course, it's best to call local wildlife experts for help if you see a hurt animal.

Sharing the world with animals does involve stepping back, but it takes stepping forward too. Thanks for the inspiration João!

(Note the translation below.)

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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