Heroes

One of the most beautifully shot videos I've ever seen makes me feel ugly to be a human.

Although this video was beautiful to watch, the message has an ugly truth that made me feel bad about the human impact on our planet. Sharks (among other species) are on the verge of a mass extinction.

One of the most beautifully shot videos I've ever seen makes me feel ugly to be a human.

We have learned a few things by studying life on this planet. There's us ...

... and there's them.

We share this planet with tens of millions of species. We are part of a web so tightly woven that as we lose our linchpin species, the environment starts to fail.


We know there are species becoming extinct, especially sharks.

One of the main reasons sharks are dying off is that we are killing them for no good reason. I'll get to that in a bit, but remember the words "shark fin soup."

We don't know how many sharks are in the ocean.

But what we do know is that there are less than before. Predator shark populations are declining, and they have been for a while, especially in more heavily populated areas. Let's face it, we're not being nice humans.

Sharks have lived through four mass extinctions, and they were around before the dinosaurs existed. And humans have almost wiped them out.

Shark fin soup is one of the reasons we are seeing shark populations fall. It's a billion-dollar industry that's supplied by fisherman catching sharks, cutting off their fins, and throwing the body back in the water to die. Shark fin soup has no nutritional value, and it's mostly tasteless ... so basically we are throwing a 400-million-year-old species away for a bowl of soup.

We spend so much time fearing sharks, but I think we've got that a little backward, don't you think?

Shark attacks are rare, and before I watched this video, I had no idea how many sharks we take from the water. Education will create change. It's simple to let your friends know about videos like this, and maybe we can prevent the next mass extinction

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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via Beto el Curioso / YouTube

It must be terribly unnerving to wake up one day and realize the government thinks you're dead, even though you're alive and kicking. You'd figure that if you were declared dead and weren't, you'd have some say in the matter.

However, for a woman in France, things haven't been that easy.

Jeanne Pouchain, 58, who lives in the village of St. Joseph, near Lyon, had a rude awakening three years ago when she received a letter from the Lyon court of appeals declaring that her family members need to pay the money she allegedly owed.

Because, according to state records, she was deceased.

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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.