It wasn't all bad
April 2, 2020

It won't be easy, but if conservation efforts are doubled around the world, scientists believe the world's oceans could be restored by 2050.

Oceans have been hurt by centuries of overfishing and pollution, but a new scientific review published in the journal Nature found that the oceans are also resilient, and successful conservation techniques have resulted in several types of marine life rebounding. In 1968, there were just a few hundred humpback whales left, but now there are more than 40,000. There are once again thousands of sea otters off of western Canada, and globally, mangroves and seagrass meadows are rarely being disturbed. Scientists also found that slowly, fishing is becoming more sustainable worldwide.

For the oceans to make a full recovery in 30 years, climate change must be fully addressed, so coral reefs don't die and the ocean doesn't become too acidic, and there has to be a renewed focus on keeping farm pollution and plastic out of the water.

"Overfishing and climate change are tightening their grip, but there is hope in the science of restoration," Callum Roberts, a professor at the University of York and member of the review team, told The Guardian. "One of the overarching messages of the review is, if you stop killing sea life and protect it, then it does come back. We can turn the oceans around and we know it makes sense economically, for human wellbeing, and of course, for the environment." Catherine Garcia

April 2, 2020

All 800 of Greg Dailey's customers received the same note stuffed in their newspaper: if they needed anything picked up from the grocery store, he was happy to do it for them, free of charge.

Dailey is a newspaper carrier, and delivers the Star-Ledger every morning to homes in central New Jersey. After New Jersey's governor told residents to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dailey learned that one of his elderly customers was too afraid to even go outside to pick up the paper, and that got him thinking about others who might have difficulty navigating this new world. He typed up a note to customers offering his services, and soon the calls came flooding in.

Dailey's wife, children, and mother-in-law help him with taking orders and doing some of the shopping. When he's done delivering his papers for the day, Dailey hits the grocery store, then brings the items back to his house for disinfection before dropping them off. "This isn't something that we're just going to do for a few days — we're in this for the duration," he told The Washington Post.

Sandy Driska thought his offer was too good to be true, but because she was overcoming bronchitis and her husband has Parkinson's disease, she decided to give Dailey a chance. He did exactly as promised, delivering her much-needed groceries without asking for an extra penny. "What a godsend this man has been," she said. Catherine Garcia

April 1, 2020

Annette Barranco knew her grandparents were looking forward to seeing her all dressed for prom, so when the dance was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, she decided to turn their front lawn into a runway.

Barranco is a senior at Beaumont High School in Beaumont, California, and while she was sad when her prom and graduation were both scrapped, she said she understands it is for the greater good. She had already picked out a sparkly blue prom dress, and didn't want it to stay hidden in her closet, so she put it on, fixed her hair, and headed over to her grandparents' front lawn.

Barranco's grandmother was shocked when she looked out the window and saw her granddaughter walking outside, wearing her beautiful gown. Barranco modeled the dress as her enthralled grandparents watching safely from inside their living room. When her grandmother first saw Barranco, her eyes filled with tears, and "it was emotionally really nice to see her reaction," Barranco told ABC Los Angeles. Catherine Garcia

March 30, 2020

Bryan Morin has always taken care of his employees, and he wasn't going to let the coronavirus pandemic get in his way.

Morin and his brother, Michael, own Federico's Pizza in Belmar, New Jersey. The pizzeria was once owned by their father, and the employees are like family — Federico's head chef has been there for more than two decades. Bryan told The Associated Press that he takes his role as "provider" for his employees seriously, and when business slowed down a few weeks ago because of the pandemic, he took out a $50,000 line of credit in order to pay them for the next two months, figuring he would "make it up somewhere down the line."

When customers heard what Morin did to keep his employees afloat, they showed their support by giving big tips and making donations. A few people then had the idea to pay for pizzas and have them delivered to first responders at hospitals and police and fire stations across the city; over just two days last week, customers spent $4,000 on pizzas for first responders, with 30 delivered to the Jersey Shore Medical Center. Federico's employee Kirsten Phillips told AP her boss' kindness was "so unexpected," but added that "maybe it shouldn't have been, because he always took care of us. This is really the best job I've ever had." Catherine Garcia

March 27, 2020

When Michelle Floering pulled up to the Culver's drive-thru in Traverse City, Michigan, she ordered a frozen custard and delivered a very important message.

Since school is out due to the coronavirus pandemic, Floering, the secondary principal at Grand Traverse Academy, wasn't able to immediately tell senior Kaitlyn Watson that she is this year's valedictorian. She knew Watson worked at Culver's, so Floering drove over and asked to see Watson at the window.

Floering recorded the whole interaction, capturing Watson's excitement after she told her she was GTA's 2020 valedictorian. "I am?" Watson responded as she jumped in the air. "Oh my gosh! Thank you so much!" Floering said the honor was "well deserved," and if they didn't have to practice social distancing, she would give Watson a hug. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

March 24, 2020

If you can't go to an art museum, bring the art museum to you.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Daphne Sashin and her family have been staying inside their Mountain View, California, home, only going outside for walks and bike riding. Last week, she thought of a way to beautify the neighborhood: have interested families use chalk to create works of art on their driveways and sidewalks. She sent an email out to neighbors, and gave interested parties a deadline of Friday at noon to finish their drawings.

"My idea was this would be something that would brighten everyone's day and it would bring us together as a community, even though we can't physically be together," Sashin told CNN.

She got to drawing with her kids Jack, 8, and Lucy, 5, and the Sashins weren't alone — more than 50 homes in the neighborhood participated. Some recreated famous works by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, while others drew their own original pieces. The art has made a difference, and could be a new neighborhood tradition, Sashin told CNN. "This was an extra motivation to walk around the neighborhood," she said. "It brought people together in a safe way." Catherine Garcia

March 24, 2020

There was no way Katie Byrne's family was going to let her celebrate her 95th birthday alone.

A big party had been planned to mark the occasion, but it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Byrne — who has seven sons, 22 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren — is self-quarantining in her Syracuse, New York, home, and her family found a way for them to all carefully spend part of her big day together.

On March 18, Byrne received a surprise visit from 18 of her relatives, who gathered a safe distance apart on her front lawn. They sang "Happy Birthday" and held up signs and balloons. "We were just giving her well wishes, letting her know we were thinking about her," granddaughter Sara Byrne told Good Morning America. She recorded the surprise, and the video shows her grandmother beaming and waving at her family from the front porch. Catherine Garcia

March 23, 2020

They'll walk dogs, pick up groceries, or swing by the pharmacy — anything that health care professionals who are dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic can't do themselves.

With their classes moved online and clinical rotations canceled, University of Minnesota Medical School students Sruthi Shankar and Sara Lederman had more free time, and started thinking about the hospital workers who don't have the same luxury. They wanted to do something to assist the doctors, nurses, and hospital janitors and kitchen staff who are working long hours fighting coronavirus, and launched a volunteer group called MN CovidSitters.

More than 280 University of Minnesota Medical School students have signed up for MN CovidSitters. They are paired with health care professionals, who let them know ways they can help their families, from babysitting to cooking dinner. The students assist health care workers who live close to them, and they practice social distancing. Lederman told CNN that "everyone's superpowers are coming out. We are realizing so many of our classmates have incredible skills and talents that we didn't know about until now." Catherine Garcia

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