Why that feeling you get when you see iconic American natural wonders is actually patriotic
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Sierra Club

In the far northeast corner of Alaska, with no roads going in or out, lay nearly 20 million acres of wildlife refuge.

It's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest national wildlife refuge in the country.

Its goals are very specific: to conserve animals and plants in their natural diversity, to ensure a place for hunting and gathering activities, to protect water quality and quantity, and to fulfill international wildlife treaty obligations.


It's a beautiful place. And recently, Michael Brune of the Sierra Club was lucky enough to visit it.

During his trip up to the Arctic, he realized some important things.

All images via Sierra Club.

Contemplating the refuge, Michael says:

“One of the things that defines our country is the vast areas of magnificent wilderness that we have."


"These are part of what the American experience is."

"Protecting the Arctic is really about protecting and enhancing what it is that makes our country what it is."

America is made up of so many beautiful natural landscapes like this one.

The Grand Canyon. Niagara Falls. The redwood forests. These are just a few of the attractions that are not only cherished by us, but are admired by people all around the world.

Protecting them isn't just a noble cause, it's downright patriotic.

Why? Because these are a huge part of what makes America, well, American.

If this "America is our wilderness" theme sounds familiar, it's because you've probably heard it before. Henry David Thoreau spoke in 1862 of the importance of wild spaces left to decay and flourish.

When Michael Brune talks about wilderness, it's as if he is channelling some of America's great naturalists and most passionate environmentalists — like John Muir or Teddy Roosevelt, two founders of the Sierra Club.

Wilderness has been important to Americans for a long time. Hear Michael's voice in this video, tying our American identities to the wild places we protect:

Puts it in a kind of unique perspective, no?

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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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."

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via Noti Tolum / Facebook

A group of beachgoers in Mexico proved that when people join together and stand up for justice, you can triumph in even the direst of circumstances.

Municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo got received a tip that there were men allegedly committing "immoral acts" on the beach. So the officers, armed with AR-15 rifles, picked up two Canadian men.

"The officers approached a group of young foreigners," local politician Maritza Escalante Morales recounted in her video. "After about 20 minutes passed, a patrol car arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs."

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
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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."

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This story was originally published on The Mighty.

Most people imagine depression equals “really sad,” and unless you’ve experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it’s different for everyone.

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via @jharrisfour / Twitter

The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicked off in Orlando, Florida on Friday. It's three days of panels and speakers with former President Donald Trump delivering the keynote speech on Sunday night.

It's believed that during the speech Trump will declare himself the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 nomination.

So far, the event has made headlines for a speech by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who tried his hand at stand-up comedy. "I've got to say, Orlando is awesome," Cruz told the cheering crowd. "It's not as nice as Cancun. But it's nice."

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