Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking the oil companies to court with a brilliant lawsuit.

He may be an iconic action movie star, but Arnold Schwarzenegger's fight for the environment may soon eclipse his biggest box-office hits.  

During his time as governor of California, Schwarzenegger demanded stronger environmental regulations. More recently, he took part in a vegan challenge with director James Cameron to bring attention to the environmental cost of the meat industry.

Now, he's taking on Big Oil.


"This is no different from the smoking issue," Schwarzenegger said during a SXSW taping of Politico's "Off Message" podcast. "Eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that."

Over the course of that conversation, Schwarzenegger pointed to documents that show that, much like with cigarettes, major oil companies have known for decades that their products were bad for the environment. And he said he's been consulting with a number of law firms to build momentum behind the idea.

"Every gas station on it, every car should have a warning label on it, every product that has fossil fuels should have a warning label on it."

Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr,

And he's right: Fossil fuels are terrible for us and the environment.

It's not just air pollution. Every step in the process of obtaining and refining fossil fuels poses very real risks to the environment, to people, and to wildlife. Nearly 100,000 tons of methane were released in the air between 2015 and 2016 alone, and coal is estimated to cost more than $100 million in health costs annually in the U.S.

Schwarzenegger may be the "Terminator" — and a former governor. But he isn't perfect.

Schwarzenegger also used his talk to open up about his thoughts on the #MeToo movement. During his first run for governor, he was accused of groping women on set and was later revealed to have cheated on then-wife Maria Shriver with the couple's nanny.

"You've got to take those things seriously," he said. "You've got to look at it and say, 'I made mistakes. And I have to apologize.'"

Of course, when it comes to destroying our environment, a simple apology won't cut it. But Arnold is setting a good example of accountability here. He's willing to own up to his own past failings, and companies that have directly contributed to climate change and other environmental damage should do so as well.

Schwarzenegger knows that real change only happens when people get involved.

He plans to host an environmental conference in Vienna in May and hopes that by pursuing his potential lawsuit against the oil companies more people will feel inspired to take action in support of the environment. After all, he says, lives are at stake.

"If you walk into a room and you know you’re going to kill someone, it's first-degree murder," he said. "I think it's the same thing with the oil companies."

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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