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How a protest over pine trees led this woman to create her dream company.

In 2012, Jen Horn watched as local residents in Baguio City, Philippines, protested over pine trees.

It might not seem like a particularly obvious political reason, but when people tried to expand a mall and eliminate a large area of pine trees in the process, the residents were so concerned about the environmental impact that they organized.

Jen, who owned a successful design company in the Philippines, was inspired by their collective action. It raised questions she had about the ethical responsibility of a business to treat the world well.


In regard to her own business, Jen often found herself wondering what happened to the things her company helped create when people were done using them.

Was her business conscientious, she wondered. Was she making the world better with her work?

Finally, someone who is as excited about succulents as I am! All images via Muni, used with permission.

That's when she got the idea for Muni, a community and company dedicated to mindful, sustainable, creative living.

"[I] really wanted to do something with greater impact and start creating more learning and networking events for like-minded folks," Jen told Upworthy in an email.

The name of the company is derived from the Filipino word muni-muni, which means "to think, ponder, muse, or reflect." And the core of the organization's purpose is just that — to facilitate mindfulness, sustainability, and ethicality among entrepreneurs.


"I wanted to create a way for all of these great people to be heard more, to be connected more to other people who share the same ideals," Jen said in a TEDx Talk last year.

With the pine tree activists' efforts at the front of her mind, Jen started this organization by uniting her personal values of sustainability and mindfulness with her business.

Because it wasn't just about her vision for the whole world. It was also about what was going on in her own backyard.

So, what exactly does Muni do? Well, a lot.

Muni brings awesome events to communities across the globe, like a series of talks in Manila, Philippines, a sustainability festival, and an upcoming "camp" for start-up founders to come together and learn from each other.

A Muni Meetup in the Philippines.

Jen hosts Muni Market Days for local creators, artists, and performers to showcase their talents to the community — kind of like a farmers market but for makers and creatives. People subscribe to Muni's Facebook page and get notified when they put up a new event.

"I wanted to create a way for all of these great people to be heard more, to be connected more to other people who share the same ideals." — Jen Horn

With this upswing in female business leaders, like Jen, there is also an upswing in sustainability.

Research has shown that female business leaders are more committed to corporate sustainability and creating businesses that function in harmony with the planet.

Why? One reason may be related to how female board directors and executives tend to be better at planning for the future and communicating a broad vision. A stronger reason is how diversity of all kinds always make the world a better place.

Including a diverse mix of voices in the decision-making process reveal smarter and surprising ways to make things systemically better at all levels — and sustainability is undoubtably a core area for that.

Unfortunately, only a fraction of Fortune 500 companies have women at the helm. It's clear that we need more Jens to lead the way.

The Muni community hosts Market Days to showcase local makers.

Jen's advice for other Jens out there is simple but effective:

"The goal is to be more mindful in your business or in your life every day, and the only way for us to figure that out is if we’re in the process, doing it, talking to people who are also trying to do things in a different way."

Every action to better our community can be a source of inspiration — and in this case, it planted the seed for a company that actively seeks to improve and protect the world.

As Jen says in her speech: "At the end of the day, your world is your choice."

Reflecting on our roles as consumers, producers, and stewards of the planet is something we can all definitely get behind.

Listen to Jen's talk about starting a mindful business and see if you're not inspired to make some changes of your own!

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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