A bright yellow suitcase is saving moms and babies around the world.
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The CW

It's common to do certain things in the dark: get your snooze on, watch a movie, maybe even deliver a baby.

Deliver a ... baby? In the dark? It happens.

It's a scenario that's almost hard to fathom, considering many of us can barely find a light switch in the dark without stubbing a toe on every piece of furniture. But as U.S.-based OB/GYN Dr. Laura Stachel discovered on a research trip in 2008, babies around the world too often are being delivered in near darkness — until she found a unique way to fix it.


Check out her story in this video and then scroll down to read the whole story!

In many countries, delivering a baby in darkness isn't what the doctor ordered — but it's what the doctor got.

Take rural Nigeria, for example, where the electricity can be extremely unreliable.

When Laura went there on her research trip, she was shocked at what she saw: nurses delivering babies at night, using lanterns and flashlights to see. Surgeons working in near darkness, and patients needing life-saving procedures but getting turned away because of the dark conditions.

As you can imagine, the results were often tragic.

A midwife in Tanzania holds a cellphone in her mouth to enable her to see and care for a woman. All photos from We Care Solar/Facebook, used with permission.

On a list of reasons why maternal mortality is still so high in 2016, "light" isn't usually one that would come to mind. But 300,000 women are dying during or right after pregnancy or childbirth every year, and access to light is a contributing factor.

Because as you know, babies don't wait until conditions are ideal to make their world appearances. Countries with unreliable electricity can only adapt as best as they can.

When Laura realized that access to light was such an issue, it gave her an idea that's paying off for a whole generation.

She and her husband, Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator in Berkley, California, developed an off-grid solar electric system and gave it to the Nigerian hospital. It provided reliable lighting, easier communication, and allowed for a blood bank refrigerator through its power source.

And guess what? Maternal mortality there decreased significantly. That's not a coincidence.

Back then, Hal Aronson and Laura Stachel were just getting started.

Knowing that portability and ease of use was going to be key for their success, they created a compact version of their solar electric system and dubbed it the "solar suitcase."

It's a suitcase, people! That provides light. And a power source. And saves the lives of moms and babies.

Solar suitcases in Tanzania are now replacing candlelight and oil wick lanterns.

What more could you want? Besides more of them ... everywhere. (Don't worry, they're working on that!)

More than 1,500 solar suitcases have served moms, babies, and health care workers in more than 27 countries since 2009. In the next five years, they hope to light up 20,000 health clinics.

What a difference some light makes. Photo taken after the Nepal earthquake, using a solar suitcase.

It's a seemingly simple solution with a huge impact. The suitcases currently cost around $1,645 each and have been funded by individuals, UN agencies, and foundations; although donations are obviously welcomed. The suitcases are provided at no cost to the clinics in need.

Some of our world's biggest problems can feel too complex and difficult to fix. Laura and the We Care Solar team are showing why that's not always the case.

Her simple fix is impacting maternal mortality rates around the world in the best way possible, and there is much more good to come.

She's a hero, shining bright.

Pexels
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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.

via YS / Twitter

Joe Biden's inauguration was haunted by the specter of the failed insurrection that occurred just two weeks before at the Capitol building. The Capitol steps may have been adorned with beautiful banners, but it was hard to shake the images of broken windows and rampaging Trump supporters recently burned into the country's collective subconscious.

The Inauguration wasn't just the beginning of a new era in American politics, it was a symbol of the resilience of our democracy. One person whose bravery helped preserve the American way of life during the insurrection was honored at the proceedings and his name should never be forgotten: Eugene Goodman.

Officer Goodman's quick thinking and bravery on January 6 allowed for the narrow escape of countless Congressman and Vice President Mike Pence.


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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.