What everyone heartbroken over the 'Planet Earth II' turtle episode should know.

On Dec. 11, 2016, animal lovers sat in front of their TVs, devastated at what they saw on the screens in front of them.

It had to do with baby turtles.

"Planet Earth II" — the sequel to BBC's 2006 mega-hit series "Planet Earth" — had documented Hawksbill turtle hatchlings in Barbados.

The series, which aired in the U.K. and is coming to the BBC America this January, culminated in an episode focused on how cities are affecting animal populations around the world.


The Hawksbill turtle — a critically endangered species — was one of the featured creatures. And it was really tough to watch.

The series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, explained what happens when these hatchlings are born.

When Hawksbill turtles hatch from their eggs at night, their immediate instinct is to go toward the brightest horizon, which — if humans didn't exist — would lead them to the sea (and safety).

This is a Hawksbill turtle hatchling, born in a Jakarta breeding center in 2010. Photo by Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images.

But humans do exist. And our expanding societies have had a dramatic effect on this crucial point in the hatchlings' lives.

As cities continue to sprout up on seashores, their bright lights complicate those first few moments in a hatchling's life. Instead of being drawn toward the sea, hatchlings are drawn toward the artificial lights of the city. This isn't good.

Without human interference, Hawksbill turtles already have a small chance of surviving long-term, according to Carla Daniel, deputy field director of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. But with this added barrier stopping them from safely reaching the ocean, baby turtles are getting "crushed in the road [or] lost forever in drains," among other not-so-happy endings, on their accidental journeys into the city.

It was a big wake-up call for many distraught "Planet Earth II" viewers.

The outcry among upset viewers spurred responses from the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, which partnered with the BBC during production.

"We know that watching the footage on the 'Cities' episode of 'Planet Earth II' last night was emotional and heartbreaking," the group wrote on its Facebook page. "While it does portray what thousands of hatchlings face every year, we want to reassure you that we do our very best to ensure that as many hatchlings as possible are rescued and no hatchling is ever left behind!"

Baby turtles that were hatched at a conservation center in West Sumatra are released into the ocean. Photo by Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images.

The "Planet Earth II" team also assured viewers on Twitter that its film crew did, in fact, break protocol and saved any turtles it spotted.

Typically, the crew does everything it can not to engage or disrupt wildlife while filming, but — because this particular tragedy was manmade — they decided to intervene.

The hatchlings' fatal endings served as a learning moment for viewers on the unintended consequences of our modern existence as humans.

Many of our behaviors and technologies have surprising consequences to other species. Light pollution is a great example.

It doesn't just affect baby turtles, after all.

While light pollution may not seem as harmful as, say, pumping pollution into the air or cutting down huge swaths of trees, artificial lighting is responsible for millions of bird deaths each year, according to the International Dark Sky Association. Many birds use moonlight and starlight to hunt and migrate, and bright city lights can throw them off course. Birds may arrive in a new region too early or too late, for instance, and miss the climate conditions they need to survive there.

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Artificial lighting, which unintentionally draws insects, may create a "fatal attraction" between the tiny creatures and our manmade structures as well. Although insects seem like a nuisance to us, they're often the foundation of the food web in a given habitat. A decline in Insect population can affect whole ecosystems.  

The artificial light problem may seem unconquerable for many devastated "Planet Earth II" viewers. But the last thing we should do is give up.

Take it from Carla Daniel.

“There are many times that everything feels kind of pointless," she explained candidly of the enormous problem of hatchling deaths. "'What's the point in doing this?' This is one of those things where we kind of all have to hold hands and come together and agree to make a difference.”

“If there was one, single thing that was necessary for change, [it's] for you to get up," she noted. "Go out of your house and do something [about it]."

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Social media spats usually end in ugly words or blocking people—unless you're Patton Oswalt.

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt has made a name for himself off screen as a blunt yet caring, compassionate human. His raw openness after his wife's unexpected passing and his willingness to engage in conversations about depression and dadhood after her death has touched people's hearts and opened people's minds.

And once again on Twitter, Oswalt has proven that he is unquestionably one of the most kind-hearted dudes in Hollywood.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less