People Are Booking So Many Airbnbs in Ukraine–They Raise $2M for Hosts in Need, and Never Even Check-in:
From March 2nd to March 3rd, people from around the world booked 61,000 nights in Ukrainian cities via Airbnb, likely not one ever planning to check-in, or reschedule. It’s part of a creative social media campaign to channel funds into besieged cities where something like aid drops or supply trucks can’t reach, and it has seen $1.9 million raised for Ukrainians in just those 48 hours. Airbnb has said it is offering temporary housing in neighboring countries to up to 100,000 Ukrainians who are fleeing. It’s also waiving guest and host fees in the country to support individuals donating. One way anyone can help is by opening their home to Ukrainian refugees as an Airbnb host, for which the company will cover you with Aircover, a one-million-dollar hosting insurance policy. Airbnb also partners with non-profits and charities to help contribute to the guests’ basic needs. Other organizations like Etsy and The Red Cross are pitching in as well. Etsy has canceled the current balances owed to the company by all sellers in Ukraine, which includes listing fees, transaction fees, advertising fees, and more which is a roughly $4 million relief package. The Red Cross of Ireland also has organized housing pledges for refugees and over 4,000 pledges have already been made, which crashed their online system. A temporary protective measure has also been activated in Ireland which grants those fleeing from Ukraine with basic medical care, temporary housing, access to the labor market, and education and social welfare.
Denver’s Program to Dispatch Mental Health Teams Instead of Police is So Successful it is Expanding 5-Fold:
Denver Police Department
After dispatching mental health teams, instead of police officers, to certain 911 emergency calls, the city of Denver is proclaiming its pilot program a huge success and is expanding it significantly. Since June 2020, the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) has deployed medical and behavioral health clinicians to respond to over 2,200 low-risk calls reporting trespassing, intoxication, or mental health crises involving poverty, homelessness, or addiction. In all that time, STAR teams have never called for police back-up due to a safety issue, according to their January report. The Denver Post reports that STAR teams have driven hundreds of miles, assisted suicidal people and schizophrenics; they’ve also handed out water and socks and connected people to shelter, food and resources. STAR’s advisory team, consisting of 15 volunteer citizens, hopes that with six vans, they can respond to more than 10,000 calls a year. Funding for the expansion was bolstered by a $1.4 million grant from the Caring For Denver Foundation. The program has been so successful that there are calls from other cities within Colorado to create similar programs which include Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins. Public officials of Colorado believe that this program is the first step to treat medical disorders through non-violent medical means instead of through the criminal system.
A Pod of Whales Adopted a Young Stray Narwhal – and They May Have Little ‘Narwhales’:
It’s rare to find a narwhal as far south as Canada’s St. Lawrence River, but it does occasionally happen. However, when a narwhal travels so far south and returns every year amid a pod of beluga whales it can only be described as miraculous. Marine biologists in Quebec have had the pleasure of studying this fascinating phenomenon: a narwhal traveling, eating, and living with a pod of young male beluga whales as they cruise down the province’s famous river. Drone footage indicates this unique black sheep is male, and well-fed, indicating that he’s been adopted into the pod. GREMM has been studying this pod of belugas who have returned every year since 2016 and they believe that they are now reaching sexual maturity which could result in a hybrid species. In 2019, an Ontario/Denmark team of researchers confirmed the existence of narlugas (a narwhal beluga hybrid) through an analysis of a skull received by a hunter-gatherer in Greenland. Lacking the long horn of the narwhal (which is a canine tooth) yet possessing characteristics of both animals, it gave some forensic evidence to known first-hand accounts of hybrids between the species. This study indicates that much like lions and tigers, it is possible for narwhals and beluga whales to procreate to create unlikely hybrid species. Much is not known about how the narwhals and the belugas can communicate and facilitate this, but it raises interesting questions about cross-communication between animal species.