What Kind Of Magic Happens When A River Returns To The Sea?

It's hard-working, much-beloved, and much-abused. It hasn't even reached the sea for half a century. Until this year.

100 years ago, the Colorado River reached the sea at a 3,000-square-mile lush, green delta in the desert, home to hundreds of thousands of birds, animals, fish, and people too. After a visit to the delta in 1922, Aldo Leopold wrote, "... the river was nowhere and everywhere," for he "could not decide which of a hundred green lagoons offered the most pleasant and least speedy path to the Gulf."


But for the last 50 years, that delta has been a salty wasteland, almost devoid of life.

People in the U.S. and Mexico are cooperating on Minute 319, an agreement that is working to restore a regular "base flow." In spring 2014, they created a one-time pulse of water to mimic springtime floods. In this giant moment in water history, you can see the blue arms of the river flowing down across the parched delta to meet the dendritic tidal channels of the sea for the first time in years.

For most young people in towns along the usually dry riverbed, the flow was a thing of wonder.

These kids live in the small community of San Luis Rio, Colorado, a town named for a river most of them have never seen.

People working on river restoration say that sending even just 1% of the river's annual flow downstream can mean restoring 2,300 acres of forest and marsh alonga 70-mile stretch of river.

A flowing river is good for tourism, recreational hunting, sport and commercial fisheries, not to mention families ...

and happy kids.

Scientists are watching reptiles, fish, birds, plants, and other wildlife to see how they respond to the water in the desert.

Over eight weeks, about 34 billion gallons of water flowed from Morelos Dam downstream toward the sea. People had worked for months to clear invasive trees (especially tamarisks) and to plant seedlings of cottonwoods and desert willows, hoping they'd take root in the spring flood.

As you've probably heard, the Colorado region is baking in the worst drought in decades, making it even more amazing that people of two nations agreed to set aside billions of gallons of water to bring a river back to life.

May it happen again next year.

Watch the original video "Renewal," narrated by Robert Redford, about the river's return in the spring of 2014.

And definitely don't miss Will Ferrell's take on the situation. You can read Philip L. Fradkin's "A River No More" for the backstory.

Heroes

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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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

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

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