6,000 people will receive a livable salary just for existing. And you could be next.

What if we paid everyone a basic, bare-minimum livable wage — in exchange for absolutely nothing?

Nothing fancy, mind you; you'd still have to work in order to afford the finer things in life. But enough to cover food, housing, health care, and other essentials without all the frills.

That's the fundamental concept behind universal basic income (UBI), an economic model that's garnered support from all across the political spectrum.


Lose your job? Too overworked to take those higher education courses you wanted? Scared to launch that company you've always wanted to start? UBI would have your back. Instead of worrying about how to make ends meet, everyone — regardless of their income — would have their basic needs taken care of, freeing them up to actually, you know, positively contribute to society in whatever way that they saw fit.

Photo by Stefan Bohrer/Flickr.

It might sound ridiculous. It might seem impossible. But it's happening as we speak.

UBI has already been or is currently being tested in places like Germany, Finland, Namibia, and Canada. And those experiments have all yielded some pretty remarkable evidence in favor of this radical idea.

Contrary to popular assumptions, free money didn't turn people into lazy drunks. Sure, some of them worked a little less — like 5-7% fewer hours on average. But they also invested more time, money, and energy into education and entrepreneurship, and their overall happiness vastly improved.

Photo by Heikki Saukkomaa/Getty Images.

But most of these experiments only lasted for a couple of years at best. No one's ever tracked the long-term impact of UBI ... until now.

The nonprofit GiveDirectly just announced a comprehensive plan to study the effects of UBI through a decade-plus social experiment.

"We’ve spent much of the past decade delivering cash transfers to the extremely poor through GiveDirectly, but have never structured the transfers exactly this way: universal, long-term, and sufficient to meet basic needs," GiveDirectly Chairman Michael Faye and Director Paul Niehaus wrote in an article for Slate. "And that’s the point — nobody has and we think now is the time to try."

If all goes according to plan, GiveDirectly will provide 6,000 people in a Kenyan village with a universal basic income for the next 10-15 years. The exact number all depends on how much money they can raise.

Photo by Tony Karumba/Stringer/Getty Images.

Why Kenya? Because most Kenyans already live on the equivalent of less than $1 a day.

As such, GiveDirectly expects the total project costs to run around $30 million, less than 10% of which will go to general administrative costs.

Nothing fancy here. Just the bare minimum that someone would need to live.

A similar initiative in a developed country would cost more than a billion dollars. And unfortunately, that's not a practical price to pay for an experimental program — even one that, if successful, could improve living conditions for everyone across the board.

Photo by Tony Karumba/Stringer/Getty Images.

But that question of cost does tend to pop up pretty quickly in conversations around UBI.

It's why some people are skeptical about the idea from the start. It's probably why no one's attempted such a grandiose plan as GiveDirectly until now. And that's exactly why their mission is so significant.

For now, GiveDirectly is soliciting donations to provide these 6,000 Kenyans with their salaries. Other economists have suggested funding UBI through standard taxes, the same way we fund our current social programs; others have pointed out that the potential income from untaxed loopholes for the wealthy would be more than enough to cover the cost.


Photo by Tony Karumba/Stringer/Getty Images.

The truth is, there are some things that we just can't know until we try — and that's why GiveDirectly's new initiative is so exciting.

The theoretical evidence all looks to be in favor of a universal basic income, but there are still some things that can't be solved on paper until they're put into action.

Worst-case scenario? GiveDirectly improves the lives of 6,000 Kenyans for a while. Best case? In 15-20 years, someone could be paying you to live as well.

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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.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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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.