Shark attacks are scary, but here are some facts to keep things in perspective.

Shark attacks are super scary, but how common are they really?

On average sharks kill fewer than six people worldwide per year. In the United States, we average less than one death from an average of 30-40 actual shark attacks around the world per year. More people win the lottery each year than get mauled by sharks.

Another way to think about it? Animals like deer, dogs, and even cows are more likely to kill us than sharks are.


Certainly puts things in perspective, especially given sensationalized media coverage of the attacks that do unfortunately occur. At the same time, all these stats don't change the fact that shark attacks, although rare, are still scary as !@$%.

Here's the thing that doesn't get enough attention, though: Humans are killing tons of sharks.

No, scratch that. We're killing millions of tons of sharks.

Over 100 million sharks are killed every year for a variety of reasons, like finning and bycatch (getting caught in nets and other commercial fishing gear meant for fish like tuna). In the last 15 years, the populations of certain shark species have decreased by 60%-90%. In addition, the International Union for Conservation of Nature reported last year that a quarter of the world's shark and ray population is currently threatened by extinction.

If we assume a global population of 7 billion, that makes humans almost 17 million times more likely to kill a shark than to be killed by a shark each year. Yikes!

But why is this a problem? Because oceans need sharks. And we need oceans.

Killing sharks might sound good to some. No more sharks means my near-zero chance of being eaten by one becomes actual-zero, right?

Let me put it this way, sharks and the ocean have a pretty long history. In fact, sharks have been around for over 400 million years — "keystone" species, meaning that the overall health of marine ecosystems are dependent on them. They not only keep other species' populations stable and healthy, but they also contribute to the vitality of seabeds and other underwater habitats like coral reefs.

You probably have your own reasons for loving the ocean (and wanting it to stay in tip-top shape), but here's a few more to consider:

  • It provides oxygen.
  • It provides food.
  • It helps with greenhouse gas reduction.
  • It helps temperature regulation.
  • We can use it for recreational activities.
  • It's home to cute animals like sea otters...

Clearly, there's a lot more to know about sharks than their rare attacks on humans.

This great infographic from healtheo360 (by way of Visually) lays out some interesting things to keep in mind next time a shark attack makes headlines. Check it out:

Fact check time! There are two clarifications needed for the infographic above. Firstly, as you might guess, a great white shark doesn't weigh 0.5 ounces ... more like 2.5 tons, on average. And as we referenced above, the populations of certain shark species have decreased by 60% to 90%, not all sharks.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 10.23.15


Getting people who don't suffer from anxiety issues to understand them is hard.

People have tried countless metaphors and methods to describe what panic and anxiety is like. But putting it into the context of a living nightmare, haunted house style, is one of the more effective ways I've ever seen it done.

Brenna Twohy delivered the riveting poetic analogy recently in Oakland, starting out by going off about some funny "Goosebumps" plots. It's lovely, funny, sweet, and relatable, and it's totally worth the short time to watch.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."