Researchers monitor these whales from above, but protecting them will be its own challenge.
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The Wilderness Society

According to popular belief, right whales got their name because they were considered the "right" whales to hunt.

They were preferable for hunters because they swim near shore and float when killed. That sort of mindset drove their numbers so low that southern right whales are still recovering, even though we banned whaling of the species in 1937.

About 12,000 remain of one species, the southern right whale, according to one estimate.

You might imagine this would sound an alarm to keep them protected. Unfortunately, a new danger is at hand.


Their prime breeding ground in the Great Australian Bight (off the southern coast) is threatened by the fossil fuel industry.

Good job picking a beautiful habitat, you southern right whales. Gorgeous image via Green Collar Productions.

There are right whales in other parts of the world, but this species is limited to the Southern Ocean.

That's because southern right whales are basically wearing sweaters full time. Get this: The thick layers of blubber needed to survive swimming in the cold waters around Antarctica mean they probably can't swim through tropical ocean zones.

These whales especially need their current nursery in the Great Australian Bight, since they don't have any options otherwise.

The British petrol giant BP is trying to drill for oil in the area used by the whales.

This is the oil company that brought you the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the United States. If you feel a little nervous about the future of these whales, you have a good reason: BP plans to turn the whales' nursery into an oil field.

These waters are too important to endangered whales to risk an oil spill.

Claire Charlton, a southern right whale researcher and marine biology Ph.D. student, explains the situation in the video below and gives us some extraordinary views of these threatened animals.

The nonprofit Wilderness Society is helping get the word out. This special place is at risk of being the next Deepwater Horizon.

To learn more about the nursery of southern right whales, check this page out. Here's a place to donate.

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.

Amazon

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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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.