Old Batteries Become New Homes For Adorable Baby Bluebirds

As part of their “zero landfill waste” initiative, General Motors is going to the birds.

This baby bird home was once a Chevy Volt battery.

For years, discarded car parts—particularly batteries—have sat rotting in crowded landfills worldwide, the unfortunate byproduct of our car-obsessed culture. Now, as part of GM’s landfill-free program, the company is pushing to end this senseless waste with an initiative to push for total recycling of parts. The beneficiaries of this project, other than all future generations of the human race, are none other than our fine, feathered friends. Recently, the endangered East Asian mohawked duck, or merganser, received a new habitat in the form of “nesting boxes” made from recycled Chevy Volt battery covers. This isn’t the first time GM has been a friend to winged creatures. In the past they have set up over 700 upcycled nesting boxes on private and public land to provide shelter for bats, wood duck, and bluebirds.

One of the first proponents of the project, GM’s Manager of Waste Reduction and “resident MacGuyver” John Bradburn, was inspired by his own personal experiences with nature. “I grew up enjoying waterfowl and built many nest boxes in my youth,” he recently mentioned on GM’s website. “Once I saw the Chevy Volt battery cover in our plant, I knew it would make a good nest box. To test the idea five years ago, I built a prototype and within two weeks, I had a hen hooded merganser nesting in it.”

How each nesting box goes from trash to treasured bird-haven.

The boxes have each been customized to allow the ducks to dodge local prey, and act as a comfortable (and durable) alternative to organic nests.

“If we do not take action to protect this species and their habitats, they will disappear in the next five to 10 years,” warns Peiqi Liu, manager of WWF China’s Flyway program.

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

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Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

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The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

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