How screwy climate problems may have brought Trump's grandfather to America.

Since the 18th century, over 7 million Germans have moved to North America, gifting countries like the United States with their language and culture.

Participants in New York City's annual German-American Steuben Parade back in 2002. Photo by Graham Morrison/Getty Images.

We can still see their influence in our love of Oktoberfest, the accordions found in Tejano music, and the many people who bear German names. For instance, the Pfizer pharmaceutical company that makes Advil was founded by a German immigrant, and the grandson of another is now the president of the United States.


The conventional story behind why so many Germans came to North America is that back in the 1800s, Germany — and all of Europe, really — was going through a pretty tumultuous time. Revolutions, wars, the birth of empires: Back then, Europe was a complicated place to try and make a living.

But a new study suggests that's not the whole picture. Because the weather itself may have also been conspiring against them.

"Overall, we found that climate indirectly explains up to 20% to 30% of migration from Southwest Germany to North America in the 19th century," said Rüdiger Glaser, a professor at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

Using a complicated analysis of 1800s population numbers, weather data, and food prices, Glaser and his colleagues were able to illuminate how a changing climate played a hand in bringing immigrants from southwestern Germany to America.

Those food prices were really the heart of the problem. At the time, German farmers depended on stable, reliable weather to grow their crops. But as droughts, cold snaps, and floods wracked the region, stable weather could be in short supply.

"The chain of effects is clearly visible: Poor climate conditions lead to low crop yields, rising cereal prices and finally emigration," said Glaser.

Glaser and his team were even able to pinpoint specific events and changes. For instance, they saw a big wave of emigration right after the bitterly cold and rainy Year Without a Summer in 1816. A series of droughts caused another wave around the mid-1840s.

The changing weather patterns don't explain everything about migration — there were still wars, still revolutions, after all — but they did appear to play a role.

Today, we're seeing our climate and weather patterns change again.

While the events that caused immigration back in the 1800s were not necessarily the same type of climate change we're seeing today (the Year Without a Summer was due to a volcano, after all, not carbon emissions), rising sea levels and more extreme weather events are still forcing people to move. In fact, the U.N. estimated that in 2008, climate change displaced 20 million people worldwide.

Glaser's team hopes that by looking to the past, we can better understand the connection between human migration and our climate.

So if your last name happens to be Schmidt or Weber or Fischer, it might be worth double-checking when your grandparents or great-grandparents arrived in the United States. You might be in for a surprise.

Glaser and his colleagues' paper appeared in the scientific journal Climate of the Past.

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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.

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If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

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True

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.

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via Budweiser

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via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

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