This stunning 'Star Wars' world is actually on Earth. And now, it's protected by the U.N.

In 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," audiences watched as the Millennium Falcon blazed through the stunning, pale blue skies of planet Takodana.

Image from "Star Wars in the Lake District," via Chris Chapman/YouTube.


What if I told you that the vast majority of what you saw on-screen in that scene wasn't computer generated?

Takodana is actually a very real, very gorgeous, place — and it's a whole lot closer than a galaxy far, far away.

Photo by Nick Bodle, courtesy of UNESCO.

Here on Earth, we call it the Lake District.

It's a lush, mountainous national park in northwest England spanning over 900 square miles.

Photo by Andrew Locking, courtesy of UNESCO.

It's under new international protection too. It was recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

When a region or landmark is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) for providing some form of global significance to humanity, that means it is legally protected under international treaty.

Photo by Andrew Locking, courtesy of UNESCO.

The U.N. designation protects in a number of ways — like providing emergency assistance to communities in the wake of a natural disaster or providing technical support so countries can safeguard their own sites from the natural elements (and humans) effectively.

The district was already a national park, but the UNESCO designation means more will be done to preserve and improve the area.

The World Heritage site designation will boost international tourism and the local economy in the region.

That's according to John Glen, the minister for arts, heritage, and tourism. "The Lake District is one of the U.K.'s most stunning and ancient landscapes," Glen said, noting the region's vibrant farming communities and archeological attractions.

Photo by Val Corbett, courtesy of UNESCO.

The UNESCO designation will also help increase conservation efforts in the area.

In claiming the area a World Heritage Site, the UNESCO committee suggested the impact of tourism in the region be more closely monitored, The Independent reported.

Photo by Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images.

The organization also requested improvements be made in keeping the area pristine and stopping human activity from encroaching on the natural habitat. UNESCO, for example, is encouraging the district to strengthen its "risk preparedness strategies" to keep the land protected in case of natural disaster (the Lake District is prone to flooding) and advised the district to work with farming communities to develop more Earth-friendly methods when it comes to agriculture.

As long as Hollywood keeps the region as it finds it, the Lake District will likely remain a favorite filming location for directors for years to come.

And you can totally understand why.

I mean, just look at it.

Photo by Val Corbett, courtesy of UNESCO.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Photo by John Hodgon/Lake District National Park, photo courtesy of UNESCO.

Photo by Andrew Locking, courtesy of UNESCO.

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" isn't the only film that's taken advantage of the region's blissful scenery.

Other blockbusters have utilized the untouched views of the Lake region too, like 2012's "Snow White and the Huntsman," 2004's "If Only," and even one of the "Harry Potter" films (although the cast and crew didn't film on the location there, they used a shot of the district as a scenic backdrop).

None, it appears, has done so quite as impressively as "Star Wars" though.

Check out the video below — a team effort by filmmaker Chris Chapman and photographer Colin Bell — which highlights how "Star Wars" transformed the British landscapes into a scene from another world:

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
via wakaflockafloccar / TikTok

It's amazing to consider just how quickly the world has changed over the past 11 months. If you were to have told someone in February 2020 that the entire country would be on some form of lockdown, nearly everyone would be wearing a mask, and half a million people were going to die due to a virus, no one would have believed you.

Yet, here we are.

PPE masks were the last thing on Leah Holland of Georgetown, Kentucky's mind on March 4, 2020, when she got a tattoo inspired by the words of a close friend.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
Dr. Who / YouTube

It's incredible to imagine that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. "The Red Vineyard" sold in Brussels a few months before his death for just 400 Francs.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo: Canva

We're nearly a year into the pandemic, and what a year it has been. We've gone through the struggles of shutdowns, the trauma of mass death, the seemingly fleeting "We're all in this together" phase, the mind-boggling denial and deluge of misinformation, the constantly frustrating uncertainty, and the ongoing question of when we're going to get to resume some sense of normalcy.

It's been a lot. It's been emotionally and mentally exhausting. And at this point, many of us have hit a wall of pandemic fatigue that's hard to describe. We're just done with all of it, but we know we still have to keep going.

Poet Donna Ashworth has put this "done" feeling into words that are resonating with so many of us. While it seems like we should want to talk to people we love more than ever right now, we've sort of lost the will to socialize pandemically. We're tired of Zoom calls. Getting together masked and socially distanced is doable—we've been doing it—but it sucks. In the wintry north (and recently south) the weather is too crappy to get together outside. So many of us have just gone quiet.

If that sounds like you, you're not alone. As Ashworth wrote:

Keep Reading Show less