The ocean is in crisis.

I don't mean to start this on a down note, but let's be real for a second: There are real problems swirling underneath the waves. Not only are the waters getting warmer and the Great Barrier Reef losing coral, but nearly 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the water on an annual basis. And that's hurting the creatures that live down where it's wetter. According to recent research, sea animals from birds, to turtles, to whales regularly feed on plastic because it smells like food. That's not good for them.

Here's what it would feel like for a human:


Of course, there are some exciting developments that are working to restore order to King Triton's kingdom.

Have you heard about the plastic-eating mutant that's recently been created by an international team of scientists? What about the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, which plans to reduce half the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — it's the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world; and yes, that's its real name — in the next five years.

And there's something cool for the rest of us, too. While scientists work on the large-scale solutions, one Florida brewing company has created eco-friendly six-packs for its craft beers, ensuring that your summer trip to the beach will both create awesome memories and prevent the endangerment of sea life.

SaltWater Brewery has been working to bring eco-safe six-pack rings to consumers since it launched in 2013.

At the time, the brewery was working on perfecting the prototypes for the eco-friendly packaging. Now, in a partnership with environmental startup E6PR, the brewery has unleashed the product upon the world.

The company's commitment to the ocean is right in its name.

"The jewel of Florida is the ocean, so we all grew up seeing tar and different plastic on the beach and when we’re surfing and fishing we’ll catch plastic bags, and it’s horrible," Chris Gove, one of the company's co-founders told Upworthy in 2016.

While the plastic rings on your six-packs have been naturally degradable since the late '80s, they can still hurt animals.

These rings can take weeks to break down. In 2017, volunteers at a beach cleanup on Elmer's Island in Louisiana picked up more than 170 plastic rings as they combed the shore for trash. That plastic could have trapped animals and caused problems if it had been ingested. The eco-rings solve that problem.

These rings are still meant to be thrown in the trash. If they don't end up there, though, sea animals have nothing to fear. The packaging is "completely biodegradable, compostable, and edible."

Here's the issue, though: SaltWater is the first company to utilize these rings. And while they're popping up in stores all over Florida —  Publix, Total Wine & More, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits — they've still got a long way to go. According to a news release, E6PR is working to bring the packaging to other breweries across the country, though it hasn't revealed which ones yet. But the eco rings are sure to grow in popularity (and drop in price?) as it becomes more apparent how important it is for us to save our oceans.

And I'm sorry, but have you seen a sea turtle lately? They're majestic AF and we should be doing everything we can to protect them. If that means reusing water bottles, not throwing garbage on the beach, and being more conscious of how much plastic we buy in general, it's worth it.

Image by Tarik Tinazay /AFP/Getty Images.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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