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They may feel, think, and smile just like us. But it doesn't mean they're happy.

The more I learn, the more I appreciate how amazing these animals are.

They may feel, think, and smile just like us. But it doesn't mean they're happy.

Let's get the sad part out of the way first.

SeaWorld keeps a lot of dolphins in captivity. And then it uses them to make money — er, I mean, entertain and "educate" guests.


Listen, I get why a whole bunch of us have been to SeaWorld. I'm looking at the picture. It's cool. But while this may *seem* like a fun show to watch — jumping dolphins! trainers! exciting music! — it's probably not a super fun show for the dolphins.

And more importantly, it's not a fun life.

SeaWorld receives its fair share of criticism about the conditions under which the dolphins and other marine animals live. But even if their conditions aren't that bad, we still shouldn't allow dolphins to be held in captivity. Why? Because dolphins are very special and unique creatures.

They have been studied for years to observe how similar to humans they really are. And in one particularly fun study, the results were telling.

Some scientists set out to prove that dolphins were *actually* intelligent using ... bubbles.

In this case, the experiment was pretty simple. Scientists created a bubble machine and put it underwater to see how the dolphins would react to it. They were scared of the bubbles at first...


...then curious.

(Side note, I love the way dolphins appear to smile.)

Finally, they got excited to play with their new toy.

They flipped bubbles with their tails. They swam through the circles. They even used their voices to change the shape of the bubbles!

They played for HOURS, creating new ways to play. They even taught each other how to interact with the machine.

They are sorta like humans that way.

The scientists found that they don't play for functional reasons (like hunting for food). They do it because playing is fun and it helps them learn. They played with bubbles the same way kids play with Legos.

It turns out, their emotional capacity is like ours.

And that's the important part. Even though we can't quantify their intelligence, we can prove that they have similar capacities to us.

That's why it's heartbreaking to see them captured and placed in cages for our amusement. SeaWorld, I'm looking at you.

I don't wanna live in a cage for no reason other than to entertain humans. And dolphins shouldn't have to either. Many other countries either expressly prohibit keeping dolphins in captivity or make it so difficult that it's rarely done. It's about time we get on board with that, wouldn't you agree?

Check out the video below to watch this really cool study and see how amazing dolphins really are.

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.

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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.