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31 Days of Happiness Countdown: cute critters. (Day 1)

Let's all enjoy some adorable animals.

31 Days of Happiness Countdown: cute critters. (Day 1)

Hello and welcome to Day 1 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow for another installment!

What better way to kick things off here than with the unifying power of puppies and kittens (and occasionally piglets)? We promised you smiles and joy, and these adorable creatures more than deliver.


Founded by Tina Marie Lythgoe, Josh and His Critters is a California-based animal rescue and rehab group with a focus on rescuing animals that got a rough start in life. There are a lot of cute animal accounts on social media, but following J&HC on social media is special kind of delight, with Lythgoe narrating the day-to-day lives of whichever animals are currently in her care.

"Our mission is to save as many animals as possible," Lythgoe wrote on the J&HC website. "Even the ones that people consider pests."

I'm particularly fond of Jamison, the Australian Shepherd with a cleft palate taken in by Lythgoe when he was just a tiny pup.

Look! So cute:

Jamison 11 days old today! Happy Easter!! #cleftpalate #baby

A post shared by Tina Marie Lythgoe (@joshandhiscritters) on

I'm so proud of Jameson! We fought like hell and we won!! #cleftpalate #nevergiveup #australianshepherd

A post shared by Tina Marie Lythgoe (@joshandhiscritters) on

Oh Jamison the struggle was real! But soooooo worth it!!! Look at you now big boy!! You look amazing!! I miss taking...

Posted by Josh and his critters on Monday, August 21, 2017

See? Toldja we'd make you smile.

For more cuteness guaranteed to bring a smile or two to your face this holiday season, follow Josh and His Critters on Instagram and Facebook.

More days of happiness here: [DAY 1] / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5/ DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17/ DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / DAY 28 / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / DAY 31
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.