This store's hilarious plastic bag designs will ensure you never forget your reusable tote at home.

I'm going to take a second to tell you something about me, a stranger you have never met before: I am literally melting right now. In San Francisco, where I live, there has been no fog for days. Only sweltering, record-breaking heat that makes me want to lie down and not talk to anyone until the rains have come.

Perhaps you're in the same situation. Or maybe it's cool where you are now but you've read a recent paper that outlines the loss of life that will occur if we continue on our collision course with catastrophic climate change. Either way, you're looking at the situation and thinking: This is not normal.


One thing to consider is how plastic consumption contributes to pollution and warming. According to the organizers of Earth Day, Americans buy 1,000,000 plastic bottles every minute. We toss trillions of plastic bags every year. And all that plastic ends up polluting waterways, hurting animals, and releasing greenhouse gases as it breaks down.

While we could speak about the problem with plastics until the earth is covered in it, the only way to take this issue on is through direct action. That's why East/West Market in Vancouver, British Columbia decided to have a little fun with customers who don't bring reusable bags to the store. They've foregone the usual "thank you" bag with something...a little more exotic. You want a plastic bag with your purchase? You're going to have to sport one that announces that you've just bought wart ointment wholesale or are fresh from a deep and hydrating colonic.

That's one way to bring our environmental issues into stark relief. The only problem, Boing Boing reports, is that the bags have become too popular for their own good. Well, maybe just print these designs on reusable bags and sell them. No one will forget them at home and we'll be one step closer to a healthier environment. Win-win.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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