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Obama saved one last national monument from Trump. Here's how to help protect it.

Patagonia's ambitious plan to save Bears Ears National Monument might just work.

Without having been there in person, it's hard to fully grasp the majesty of Bears Ears, 1.35 million acres of public land in southeastern Utah.

During his final weeks in office, President Obama declared the land a national monument, providing legal protection to its pristine landscape.

For years, local indigenous tribes had lobbied the president to use his power under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the land a national monument to protect it from vandalism and mining. Rich with spiritual significance, the area contains ancient cliff dwellings, rock art, and other fascinating archaeological artifacts dating back thousands of years.


But with Obama out of office, Bears Ears is once again threatened, and one company has a plan to rally support.

Last month, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution calling on President Donald Trump to revoke Bears Ears' status as a national monument, again opening it up to exploitation by people and groups who want to drill and mine natural resources from the land.

That's where Patagonia comes in.

What better way to rally support for the national monument than to bring the experience of Bears Ears to the people directly? That's what Patagonia set out to do with an ambitious virtual reality video series.

Teaming up with Google, Patagonia created a virtual reality experience that immerses viewers in Bears Ears National Monument to hear stories from the likes of Navajo Mountain community member Willie Grayeyes, Hopi archaeologist Lyle Balenquah, and Zuni medicine man Octavius Seowtewa, among others.

It's a really cool experience — whether on desktop, mobile, or a virtual-reality-enabled device — and it has one goal: to inspire people into action.

Last year, the outdoor retail giant donated its Black Friday sales (estimated at more than $2 million) to grassroots environmental groups to fight climate change. Its campaign to help save Bears Ears follows a similar thread.

In January, Yvon Chouinard, the company's founder, wrote an open letter to Governor Herbert urging him to accept the new designation protecting the land. Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario began work retooling an in-progress "This Is Bears Ears" project meant to celebrate the new designation with one that more forcefully defends it.

"The call to action really came out of necessity because of the attacks by the legislature and governor," Marcario told Mashable. "And we wanted to get more people just understanding the issue, understanding what's at stake, and coming into the dialogue with us and the environmental fight to protect these public lands."

Now, the 10-part video series ends with a firm call to action urging viewers to call U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to make the case for preserving the land.

"It is imperative that we protect this culturally rich and recreationally spectacular landscape and keep public lands in public hands," reads a portion of the call script.

The Trump administration poses a very real threat to lands like Bears Ears and to the environment in general. Luckily, there are things you can do.

In addition to following through on Patagonia's Bears Ears call to action, we've created a list of 21 things you can do right now to help save the environment. While things may have, in many ways, shifted backward, it's important to remember that the fight to protect our world, our environment, is not over.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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