Heroes

The shocking footage these filmmakers captured reveals why the Earth is in serious trouble.

It's fast-paced, action-packed, and visually stunning. It's better than "The Avengers!" (Or so I say.) In any case, this is not your average save-the-whales video.

The shocking footage these filmmakers captured reveals why the Earth is in serious trouble.

Louie Psihoyos isn't your average filmmaker.

He's best known for his 2009 documentary "The Cove," which took home an Oscar for its investigation into dolphin hunting practices in Japan.


Whale and dolphin meat on sale in Tokyo. Image by Stefan Powell/Wikimedia Commons.

Even if you haven't heard of the film, you still may have heard about its infamous, gut-wrenching scene depicting a brutal dolphin massacre in the waters of Taiji, Wakayama.

How did Psihoyos get so close to the action without tipping off the fishermen?

"The first time I saw a slaughter, I was hiding across the cove, hanging from a rope on a cliff in full camouflage and face paint," he told The Humane Society of the United States.

So, yeah. Not your average filmmaker.

Now, six years later, he's back with a new film. And he has his sights set on an even bigger target than the dolphin-meat industry.

He's taking on the world's next mass extinction.

Science says there have been five big mass extinction events, or periods when abnormally large numbers of species die out simultaneously. Psihoyos and many others say we're on the verge of the sixth.

When he decided to explore the issue through film, though, he wanted it to be something everyone would want to watch — not just environmentalists. So he and his team, as they've done before, went undercover.

Using technology straight out of a James Bond movie, Psihoyos and his crew conducted covert operations to take us inside the back rooms of the endangered animal trade, to the front lines of carbon dioxide emissions, and underwater to witness the destruction of the world's oceans — giving us an unprecedented look at how humanity is driving entire species to extinction.

And, more importantly, what we can do about it.

While the film hasn't seen a wide release yet, early word says the effect is powerful.

Ecowatch is calling "Racing Extinction" a "must-see documentary." And it's not hard to see why. It's got everything.

High-tech gadgetry.

Stunning images of nature's beauty.

High-octane explosions.

And a message meant to inspire the next generation to change the world.

Trust me, if you care about the fate of the world at all, you aren't going to want to miss "Racing Extinction." And if you're just in it for the spy missions and the daring getaways, that's cool too.

To find out when the film is coming to your town, check the film's official website.

And here's the trailer to get your blood pumping!

P.S. If you think nothing can ever be better than "The Avengers" (and that is a great movie, BTW), you can still feel OK about thinking this is awesome (and important) too.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

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 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

Keep Reading Show less
True

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."