Heroes

5 quotes that show why you go into space a scientist and come down an environmentalist.

"If you really love something, you don’t want to lose it."

5 quotes that show why you go into space a scientist and come down an environmentalist.
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League of Conservation Voters

One of my favorite quotes ever is from astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell.

It's a little rough, but it sure does make a point. He described his experience of seeing the Earth from the moon like so:

"You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a b****.'”

I've always loved the image of it — some congressional blowhard stuffed into a spacesuit. I love the message, too, and it's something I think we need to hear more often.


On Dec. 5, 2015, a group of astronauts once again tried to give world leaders everywhere a new perspective.

Planetary Collective presented world leaders at COP21 with with a video. In it, 18 astronauts from around the world asked them to take action against climate change.

And, in typical astronaut fashion, they said it in ways that really just nail it.

All GIFs via PlanetaryCollective/YouTube.

So without further ado, here are five (more) things you realize as an astronaut.

1. Humanity's effect on the planet is undeniable.

"Less than 550 humans have orbited the Earth. Those of us lucky enough to have done so more than once have not only heard about the negative impact that the industrial age has had on our planet, we’ve seen it with our own eyes." — Michael Lopez-Alegria, Space Shuttle, Soyuz, ISS, and U.S. spacewalk record holder

2. You get an eyewitness view on the environment.

The destruction of the Amazon is super clear from above.

"We astronauts have been witnessing the continued shrinking of the Aral Sea; the burning rainforests along the Amazon River and in Indonesia; the polluted air over industrial zones; and the dirty water at the river deltas." — Ernst Messerschmid, Ph.D, Space Shuttle

3. You realize how blessed we are.

"Suppose I can transfer the experience which I have to you, then you would go out and see the Earth. And when you have, let’s say the spirit and the insight, and the attitude of an astronaut, you start to love the Earth. And if you really love something, you don’t want to lose it." — Wubbo Ockels, Ph.D, Space Shuttle and first Dutch citizen in space

4. We are a very small part of a very big picture.

"We are citizens of space and stewards of Earth. We need to take actions to build a global climate alliance in order to protect our environment." — Soichi Noguchi, Space Shuttle, Soyuz, and ISS

5. It's our responsibility to protect the Earth.

"I believe we must do everything we can to minimize the human contribution to climate change and make better choices so we can live in harmony with nature and with each other." — Jerry Carr, Skylab

Because that's what it's really about, at least for me. Responsibility.

We are not children. We don't cower in caves anymore. We are not afraid of the dark. We don't ignore our messes, we don't make excuses, and we certainly don't put things off, hoping someone else will come along and save us.

We are adults. We take responsibility for our actions. That's what adults do.

Sometimes it just takes a little perspective to see that.

See what the other 13 astronauts had to say below:

Ready to reach for the stars? You can help protect the Earth by signing the League of Conservation Voters' petition supporting the EPA's new Clean Power Plan.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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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.