This diver's photos are spectacular. They also make an important statement.

Ralph Pace’s career as a photographer didn’t start underwater. In fact, it started with a jaguar.

He'd decided to go to graduate school for oceanography, but before he could do so, he needed to get some research experience under his belt.

So he headed to Costa Rica.


“I was working on sea turtle projects, but it’s also one of the only places in the world that jaguars actually hunt in packs,” he says. “I called my brother and said, ‘Hey man, you won’t believe this!’ And it was kind of a typical brother thing — he sent me a camera and said ‘Prove it!’”

All photos by Ralph Pace, used with permission.

Pace didn’t grow up knowing he wanted to be a photographer, much less an underwater one. In fact, he was pre-med in college and hadn’t even been on a dive until he traveled abroad to Australia.

But once he realized the ocean was his calling, he headed to Scripps Institute of Oceanography. And after his encounter with the jaguars, he quickly realized he wanted to pair his newfound photography skills with his love of the ocean.

It didn’t take long for Pace to turn his camera toward the water to start telling stories about conservation.

He already had a passion for the environment itself. And when he started doing photography work on conservation projects, he quickly discovered a strong preference for working with scientists when taking his photos.

“They’re gonna show you the best stuff in the best way, in such a way that you know you’re not harming any animals,” he says. “Those are really the guys on the front lines of conservation.”

He started reaching out to scientists he already knew from his graduate work at Scripps and began going on projects involving sea turtles, sturgeon, swordfish, and more. Slowly, he went from simply documenting the projects to actually using his photos to tell important stories that he felt people needed to hear — landing him on the front lines of the conservation movement too.

Pace doesn’t take photos of just anything — he goes out of his way to find stories that no one has heard and bring them to light.

In many cases, that means traveling to places that most people can’t reach and will likely never get to see themselves.

“You show people this incredible world that they kinda didn’t even know existed,” he says. After all, “How do you get somebody excited about something if they can’t picture it, can’t relate to it?”

By bringing unreachable sights to people through his photos, Pace is able to bring the support to the causes they represent — like ocean conservation.

And that, he says, is the power of photography.

"With photos you have a really unique opportunity to grab someone’s attention," he says. "You take a famous photo of, say, the 'Afghan Girl' that Steve McCurry took for the cover of National Geographic. You take that picture, and it grabs everyone’s attention and they read an article about it, and at the end of it people are sending millions of dollars to refugees abroad."

Being a photographic trailblazer doesn’t always mean traveling the world though. Sometimes, it means staying put and finding stories nearby.

“I think you’re a lot more valuable if you can work in your backyard and tell stories that are close to home,” Pace says. “I tell people I’m going out to work with sea turtles in San Diego and they say, ‘There are no sea turtles here!’ They’ve lived here their whole lives and they don’t know there’s a population of sea turtles here.”

Pace’s mission is to bring untold stories to light, and sometimes those overlooked stories are nearby.

He's just one man, but Pace is confident that his stories can have a big impact on ocean ecosystems.

Ocean conservation is a huge and complex movement, full of giant and sometimes overwhelming problems. But even one story about one particular animal can have positive effects on the whole environment.

“Sometimes, by saving one thing, we create a sort of umbrella to save a lot of things underneath it,” Pace says.

He uses Costa Rica, where he worked with sea turtles but also saw jaguar conservation efforts, as an example. Oftentimes people can feel like they’re competing for resources in order to save their species, but the way Pace sees it, it’s all one story.

“Why work in competition with the jaguar folks?” he says. “Let’s protect the whole stretch of beach. Let’s work together to make sure there’s lots of sea turtle habitats so that when their populations rebound, it also provides food for the jaguar.’”

He brings that same philosophy to all the projects he photographs. By bringing one untold story to light, Pace’s photography can attract support and resources to entire ecosystems.

Though photography is a pretty specific skill, Pace's passion for new information is something we can all incorporate into our lives.

Spreading the knowledge of ocean conservation — whether though photography, writing, science, or just talking over the dinner table — is how Pace believes we will ultimately save our underwater environments.

"That's what telling stories can do," he says. "You take people to places they've never been and you introduce them to things they've never heard about. And hopefully that allows to them to make better decisions that are ultimately gonna make this planet a better place. That's all you can really hope for."

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Nature Valley
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.




Others found this to be very relatable content.








And then things took a brief turn...


...when Carli revealed that her dad had been stood up by his date.



And people were NOT happy about it.





However, things did work out in the end. According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Carli told her dad about all of the attention the tweet was getting, and it gave him hope.

Carli's dad, Jeff, told Yahoo Lifestyle that he didn't even know what Twitter was before now, but that he has made an account and is receiving date offers from all over the world. “I'm being asked out a lot," said Jeff. “But I'm very private about that."



We stan Jeff, the viral Twitter dad. Go give him a follow!

This article originally appeared on SomeeCards. You can read it here.

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