He had to operate to save an orangutan's life. The catch? He'd never done it before.
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Dignity Health

When Daniel the orangutan arrived at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, he was in rough shape.

He was suffering from a respiratory disease, which, just like in humans, can worsen and even lead to death when untreated.

The stakes were high, especially considering that orangutans are a highly endangered species. And respiratory illnesses can be even more dangerous for orangutans which have an inflatable air sac that can be vulnerable when it becomes infected. Located in their throats, these air sacs are helpful in allowing orangutans to sustain the loud calls they're known for by creating a chamber for the sound to resonate within, but these air sacs are also prone to infection.


Dr. Gary West, executive vice president of animal health and collections at the Phoenix Zoo, was hopeful that cleaning the site of the infection would be enough for Daniel. But it wasn't.

The infection returned, and West quickly realized Daniel would need a sinus surgery if he had any shot at recovering. But that surgery required expertise that West didn't have. So they called in Dr. David Simms, an ENT specialist with Dignity Health, to perform the surgery.

There was just one problem: Simms had never operated on an orangutan before.

Humans and orangutans are pretty similar, but they're obviously not the same. This didn't intimidate Simms, though, who was excited to apply what he knew about humans to a different species. When Simms saw how badly Daniel needed the procedure, he was even more determined.

"I knew that I could help him," he explains. "I really didn't think twice."

Simms was relieved that Dignity Health, a health provider based in San Francisco, encouraged him to do the procedure and helped to plan it even though Daniel wasn't a human patient. With the right team behind him, Simms was confident he could perform the surgery.

Simms got to work. He started by studying up on orangutan anatomy before surgery.

He took CT scans so he could take a close look at the differences between a human's sinuses and an orangutan's. He even had a 3D replica of Daniel's skull printed to practice on before the actual surgery.

Being able to practice ahead of time was especially important because Daniel was already at a higher risk for complications because of the underlying air sac infection.

Luckily for Daniel, all the work paid off. The surgery went off without a hitch.

Almost immediately afterward, it was clear it'd been a success. Daniel's eyes were brighter, and his appetite was bigger.

"He wanted to eat everything in sight," says Mary Yoder, primate manager at the Phoenix Zoo. "He was back to his old self."

Daniel was doing extraordinarily well after the surgery, and his recovery offers hope for other primates who face the same challenges.

Many orangutans like Daniel deal with respiratory disease. Because they are on the brink of extinction, surgeries like these can make or break the survival of an entire species. When experts like Simms step in, they're not saving only a single orangutan — they're helping in conservation efforts to ensure orangutans survive well into the future.

Simms is hopeful this surgery will offer a model on which future surgeries can be based, helping all sorts of primates live longer, happier lives.

As for Daniel, the Phoenix Zoo hopes he'll find a mate, have a family, and enjoy a long life ahead of him, free of the disease that once held him back.

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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.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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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.