When it comes to prioritizing environmental concerns, curbing litter isn't exactly at the top of the list.

After all, when there are much bigger dangers like harmful emissions, overfishing, and climate change to worry about, how much harm are a few pieces of plastic on the ground really going to do?


Just splitting a sixer of Strawberry Crush with my bros. What's the worst that could happen? Photo by iStock.

But there's one turtle that would staunchly disagree with that mindset (or, at least he would if he could talk).

Meet Peanut. He's a turtle. And he's lucky to be alive.

The red-eared slider was found wandering the St. Louis area in 1993 with a six-pack ring trapped around his mid-section.

Peanut re-creating the fateful incident. All Peanut photos by Missouri Department of Conservation, used with permission.

Even after his rescuers snipped the plastic rings off, Peanut's shell was forever deformed into a figure-8, peanut-y shape (hence his name). Due to the constriction of his shell, some of Peanut's internal organs (his lungs, in particular) failed to grow properly.

These impairments made Peanut an easy target for predators, which meant he was unable to be released back into the wild.

Today, Peanut has a home and a job with the State of Missouri.

The 31-year old turtle resides at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, where he is treated by the state herpetologist. He's also the official mascot for Missouri's Department of Transportation and Department of Conservation's anti-littering effort, a program called No MOre Trash.

Peanut is ready for his close-up.

In his heyday, Peanut made as many as two or three appearances a month at schools and events across Missouri.

He and his handlers would encourage people young and old to dispose of their trash the right way to prevent other animals from ending up like Peanut.

Peanut rockin' out.

Now that Peanut's a little older, he's taking it easy.

"We put Peanut in semi-retirement," Catherine McGrane, assistant nature center manager for Powder Valley, told Upworthy. Traveling back and forth to lots of events can be stressful for a turtle because of all the handling and being transferred to water of varying pH levels.

These days, Peanut still travels to large events like the Missouri State Fair, where he's a popular attraction and educator. Every year, 90,000 to 110,000 visitors travel to Powder Valley to see Peanut and the site's two other resident turtles in the visitor's center lobby.

Peanut hanging out in his tank at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.

Peanut is a living, breathing example of the impact our garbage can have on the environment.

Whether it's turtles in six-pack rings or squirrels in yogurt containers, what happens to our trash and how we dispose of it matters.

McGrane shared a few other common household items to watch out for: "Any fishing line, or plastic lines, because animals can get tangled, not just in the water, but by a bird or squirrel, " she said. "And be mindful of balloons when they pop outside. Birds and other animals may ingest them."

"Please think more about your trash," is what Peanut would say if his lungs weren't deformed and if he could talk.


The best way to dispose of six-pack rings, fishing line, and yogurt containers is to cut them into smaller pieces before dropping them in the recycling. This simple step can protect fish and wildlife from getting stuck or swallowing large pieces. Balloons and plastic shopping bags also pose a serious threat to animals who eat them or get entangled. Consider balloon-free celebrations and use cloth bags at the store to keep these items out of landfills.

When you're out and about, make sure your trash and recyclables wind up in the right place, in the proper condition.

Because we can all do our part to protect our natural resources and wildlife.

Peanut loves when you recycle. Keep it up. Photo by iStock.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

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I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Inattentive Type about three years ago—I was a fully functioning adult, married with children before finding out that my brain worked a bit differently. Of course I've known that I functioned a bit differently than my friends since childhood. The signs were there early on, but in the '80s diagnosing a girl with ADHD just wasn’t a thing that happened.

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Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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