Is this chart upside down? Australia, land of the sun, not in the lead? But here in the U.S., we don't have too much to gloat about either.
Maria Ducasse of Brooklyn is an inspiring example of how one person can unite a community to ensure no one loses their pet because of hardship.
Three years ago, she founded East New York Dog Lovers a nonprofit that has grown to have 29 foster homes, 200 volunteers, and helped reconnect more than 50 dogs with their people. It's a safety net where struggling pet owners get emergency fostering, help with medical bills, and food for their fur babies.
"Our biggest mission is to end pet surrendering," Maria told Chewy. "So whatever help may be needed—food, vet care, whatever you need to keep your pet at home—we are willing to supply and help you."
Maria has arranged for people struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, and medical emergencies to connect with fosters who care for their pets until they're back on their feet. Her hard work keeps families intact and pets safe.
"We just keep getting bigger," Maria says. "Every time we go out there and help somebody, they're like, 'I'm in—how can I help?'"
Maria's wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Community Pet Foster."
Ah, the delicious, creamy avocado. We love it, despite its fleeting ripeness and frustrating tendency to turn brown when you try to store it. From salads to guacamole to much-memed millennial avocado toast, the weird berry (that's right—it's a berry) with the signature green flesh is one of the more versatile fruits, but also one of the more fickle. Once an avocado is ready, you better cut it open within hours because it's not going to last.
Once it's cut, an avocado starts to oxidize, turning that green flesh a sickly brown color. It's not harmful to eat, but it's not particularly appetizing. The key to keeping the browning from happening is to keep the flesh from being exposed to oxygen.
Some people rub an unused avocado half with oil to keep oxidation at bay. Others swear by squeezing some lemon juice over it. Some say placing plastic wrap tightly over it with the pit still in it will keep it green.
But a YouTube video from Avocados from Mexico demonstrates a quick, easy, eco-friendly way to store half an avocado that doesn't require anything but a container and some water.
It almost seems too simple, but people swear it works. The avocado half won't last forever, of course, but if you don't eat an avocado half within three days, do you really deserve that avocado half? I don't think so.
A few more fun facts about avocados: Avocados have more potassium than bananas, they are very high in fiber compared to other foods and they're also high in heart-healthy fat, like olive oil. Also, did you know that you can't grow a Hass avocado from a Hass avocado seed? Weird, right?
And if your mind is blown about the avocados-are-berries thing, I feel you. I won't tell you that strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are not actually berries, but bananas, cucumbers and pumpkins are, because that would just be cruel. (It's true, though. I'm sorry.)
Cheers! May your avocados be perfectly ripe, their pits small and their oxidation slow.
Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.
"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."
This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.
"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."
She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."
Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."
So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.
"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.
"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."
"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"
Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.
In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.
"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."
She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.
"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.
To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!
At Upworthy, we're on a mission to make the world a better place, and part of that mission includes bringing more joy into people's lives. Sometimes that means sharing stories of hope and humanity to warm your heart, and sometimes it means sharing silly animal videos you can't help but laugh at.
Each week, we round up 10 things from around the internet that spark joy and delight in the hopes that it brings a little lightness to your day. If you've had a long week and are looking for some reasons to smile, here are 10 of them:
Are all dogs this smart? If so, I want one.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants wishes of kids with terminal illnesses, and typical wishes range from getting to meet a hero to getting to go to Disneyland. But when Abraham Olagbegi, who was born with a rare blood disorder, got a chance to get his wish, he chose to feed people who are homeless once a month for a year. "My mom always says it's a blessing to be a blessing so I just wanted to do something for other people to make it last long," he said. What a sweetheart. Read the full story here.
British Columbia got hammered by a once-in-a-century weather event that caused unprecedented flooding and mudslides, cutting off Vancouver from the rest of Canada by road and rail. As we've seen countless times before, the Sikh community stepped up to help out, cooking thousands of meals and arranging a helicopter to deliver them. Read the full story here.
Why do red pandas always look like little kids dressed up in costume? They're so stinking cute.
We are all set for year 6! 🦃 pic.twitter.com/wEQioizWGd— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 14, 2021
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton met in 2016 when Wanda thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner but reached 17-year-old Hinton instead. The two formed a sweet friendship and have been sharing Thanksgiving dinner ever since. Read the wholesome, heartwarming story here.
I mean, how can anyone top that? Meet the lucky couple and read the full story here.
That guy's a keeper.
Every kid deserves to grow up with a good pup… pic.twitter.com/XHhn3aevSi— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) November 19, 2021
What pure emotion. Oof. And the way the pup goes up and licks his face? It's too much joy for one video.
“Five more minutes” 😂 pic.twitter.com/HlbNXofcvB— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) November 19, 2021
Dying. There is absolutely no way that doggo is getting out of the water.
This is the TwitterTok content I want to see pic.twitter.com/hR5gZudOyt— Dr. Raven the Science Maven (@ravenscimaven) November 15, 2021
As we saw with the wave of sea shanty videos a while back, TikTok can be used to create unique musical collaborations between total strangers. It's the best thing about the app, truly. And this one just takes the cake … er, muffin. So dang sweet.
Hope that brought a smile to your face! Join us at the end of each week for another roundup of joy-filled finds from around the internet.
Watching a loved one die is difficult, confusing, terrifying and heartbreaking. They transform before our eyes, unrecognizably. In turn, our faces are no longer familiar to them. The entire experience can leave us feeling powerless to help.
Hospice workers provide an incredible service to humanity by making this process less painful. And they do it with great kindness and compassion.
Julie is a hospice nurse in California. In her five years doing this, she has helped a lot of patients maintain a quality life in their final weeks and months before having a peaceful death. She's also educated a lot of families about what to expect during the transition, in an attempt to make it a little less daunting. According to Julie, that's the best part of the job.
Julie decided to share her expertise on TikTok, where her insights could reach a wider audience.
"I knew I had a lot of interesting information about death and dying that most people don't know about. I want to normalize death by educating people about it. I went home to visit my family, and my tween nieces were on TikTok making dance videos. I later went on TikTok to see their dances. This gave me the idea of starting my own TikTok about death and dying," she told The Sun.
The idea caught on quickly. Julie soon racked up more than 400,000 followers, with millions of views for multiple videos. Clearly she had some valuable knowledge.
In one of her videos, she explains how many of the death processes we find morbid, are actually quite normal. Changes in breathing, skin color, fevers … all normal. Messy, but normal. Even the "death rattle," despite its scary name, is very natural, as the brain is no longer able to tell the throat to swallow saliva. "Terminal secretions," she calls it.
@hospicenursejulie #hospicenursejulie #nurse #learnontiktok #ForzaHorizon5GO #nursesoftiktok ♬ original sound - 💕 Hospice nurse Julie 💕
Julie also discusses the "rallying" phenomenon, where a terminal person seems to make a swift recovery—even regaining an appetite and bouncing back to a personality—before ultimately passing within a few days, or sooner. She explains that, where no one knows exactly why this happens, she always informs her patients and families so they're not caught off guard. I cannot imagine the anguish people go through who do not know this.
@hospicenursejulie #hospicenursejulie #nurse #learnontiktok #nursesoftiktok ♬ original sound - 💕 Hospice nurse Julie 💕
One person asked, "Does knowing all of this in depth make death less scary for you?" To which Julie simply replied "Yes–I'm not scared at all."
Natural death, Julie says, is not uncomfortable. Because many people die from accidents or diseases, we tend to equate death with suffering, but that does not have to be the case. In fact, Julie shares about people seeing angels, even loved ones who have passed. Often they manage to say "I love you" right before death.
@hospicenursejulie Reply to @spymylittleye #greenscreen #hospicenursejulie #angel #LevisMusicProject #nurse #learnontikrok ♬ original sound - 💕 Hospice nurse Julie 💕
Hospice care is undervalued, at best. And at worst, it can be demonized, as many buy into the myth that hospice companies make money off of killing patients (another notion Julie politely debunks). This is what makes her channel truly special. Julie makes death—the ultimate unknown—a little less frightening with the power of education and empathy. It's something she does on a day-to-day basis. But now we all can benefit.