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We might soon have 1 fewer animal on the endangered species list. Here's why that's a bit worrying.

The conservation efforts have been a "success story," but is it too early to take humpback whales off the endangered species list?

We might soon have 1 fewer animal on the endangered species list. Here's why that's a bit worrying.

Since June 1970, humpback whales have been considered an endangered species, but that might soon change.

In what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is calling a conservation "success story," it looks like some humpback whales might be removed from the endangered species list they've been on for the past 45 years.

This isn't to say that all is well in the world of humpback whales, but NOAA has noted a marked improvement, suggesting that whale populations have stabilized in many parts of the world.


Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

Last month, NOAA announced plans to segment humpback whales into a number of groups and take most off the endangered species list.

As you can see on NOAA's map, under their proposal, only the whales found in zones shaded in pink would remain "endangered," and the ones shaded in yellow would be "threatened." The rest would be considered "not at risk."

Image by NOAA.

However, some conservationists aren't on board, saying the plan is premature and that the whale population hasn't increased enough yet to be removed from the list.

In an interview with The Guardian, Regina Asmutis-Silvia from Whale and Dolphin Conservation of North America said, "Humpbacks are a really complicated species to really review for declaring these distinct population segments. They are highly migratory in most places, but not everywhere."

She added, "It's not so simple as drawing a line and saying, 'They belong to this population and there's a lot of them so we are going to take them off the list.'"

In other words, the same whales might travel in and out of zones marked "endangered" and "not at risk" simply through their regular travels, regardless of which group they're in.

Photo by Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images.

At first glance, this looks like a great idea. However, this might not be as well-intentioned a move on NOAA's part as we're led to believe.

Two groups — one in Alaska and one in Hawaii — want NOAA to take humpbacks off the endangered list, but they have their own interests at heart in doing so.

Being on the endangered list means that individuals and businesses need to take extra precautions when it comes to working near the whale's habitat. For example, this might mean not being able to drill for oil or have ships come in and out of state ports as freely as a group would like.

So, while the whale population HAS made a comeback in recent years, the reasons for taking them off the list have to do with the very things that made them endangered in the first place.

NOAA is accepting public comment on their new proposal from now until July 20, 2015, at which point they'll make a decision about whether or not to remove the whales from the endangered species list.

Humpback whales are beautiful, smart creatures, and they deserve our protection.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."