Girl Scouts can earn 30 new badass badges in cybersecurity, space science, and more.

Girls Scouts can earn new leadership badges — and they’re awesome and relevant.

Girls Scouts introduced 30 new badges to its lineup, giving girls a broad range of STEM and environmental goals to reach. According to the organization's website:

"The new programming will prepare girls to address some of society’s most pressing needs through hands-on learning in cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration."

Girl Scouts is partnering with industry leaders, such as Raytheon, Palo Alto Networks, and NASA to help launch the new programs.


Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

That's good news for girls interested in science and technology — and great news for a society that needs more female representation in those fields.

Cybersecurity and mechanical engineering for kindergarteners? Yep.  

The new badges are split between two age groups: kindergarten to fifth grade, and sixth to 12th grade.

Badges for girls in kindergarten to fifth grade include cybersecurity and space science, introduced in age appropriate ways that encourage curiosity. Girl Scout Juniors — girls in fourth and fifth grade — can now earn badges in mechanical engineering for designing cranes, balloon-powered cars, and more as they learn about buoyancy, energy, machines, and jet propulsion.

For girls in grades sixth through 12th, badges can be earned in categories like robotics and environmental stewardship. Stewardship has been part of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912, but the new environmental badge is designed to mobilize girls to be advocates who address problems, find solutions, and take leadership roles to protect the earth. Girls in 11th and 12th grade can earn badges in college knowledge as they prepare for the college admissions process, including navigating financial aid.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Older girls also have new STEM "Journeys" they can explore.

In addition to badges, Girls Scouts added new "Journeys" to its programming for grades six-12. In a Girl Scout Journey, a girl teams up with friends to identify a problem in the community or world, brainstorm solutions, make a team plan, put it into action, and share what she's learned from the process and what she'll do next.

These "Journeys" include the "Think Like a Programmer" program, which gives girls a foundation in solving problems through computational thinking and can help prepare girls for careers in cybersecurity, computer science, and robotics, and the "Think Like an Engineer" journey lets girls engage in hands-on design projects, teaching them how engineers think through problems and create solutions.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Encouraging girls in STEM fields and giving them real-world experience serves both individual girls and society at large.

Women have made big strides in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but they're still underrepresented in those fields. According to the National Science Foundation, women earn half of college degrees in the U.S., but only make up 29% of the science and engineering workforce. And that gap widens when you remove biological sciences from the equation.

For example, women make up:

  • 35.2% of chemists
  • 11.1% of physicists and astronomers
  • 33.8% of environmental engineers
  • 22.7% of chemical engineers
  • 17.5% of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers
  • 17.1% of industrial engineers
  • 10.7% of electrical or computer hardware engineers
  • 7.9% of mechanical engineers

When fields are heavily dominated by one gender, stereotypes are reinforced, discrimination becomes easier, and we all lose out.

It's vital for girls who are interested in science and tech fields to have support and opportunity.

As Girls Scouts spokesperson Stewart Goodbody says, "Not only is it imperative that girls today are prepared to fill the STEM gap in the workforce, but we also know that girls’ passion for STEM increases when they see how it can help others and the world. Learning to use STEM to solve real-world problems is an unparalleled skill that will help Girl Scouts be the next generation of visionaries to solve countless environmental issues — as well as those in health, education, the economy, and more."

Goodbody points out that all Girl Scout programming is girl-led and designed around what girls have expressed interest in. This new programming will "push girls to be forward-thinking and equips them with skills that will help them become the innovative leaders of today and tomorrow."

Go, Girl Scouts, go.

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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.