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How this NYC airport is changing the game for pet travel

Four-legged flyers are getting a taste of the "suite" life.

How this NYC airport is changing the game for pet travel

Over 2 million animals fly commercially each year.

It's looks less like this:


"Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain speaking. You are now free to sniff each others' butts." Photo by Thinkstock.

And more like this:

"Can we at least get some pretzels?" Photo by ilovemytank/Flickr.

The experience is often chaotic and stressful for humans and animals alike. While animals have a 1 in 50,000 chance of suffering injuries or death during air travel, stories of incidents often spread rapidly.

As such, pet owners are looking for any way to make sure their furry friends are happy and healthy throughout the travel experience.

That's why John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City is stepping up big time for animals and their owners.

To assist four-legged travelers and the humans who love them, Kennedy is turning an unused cargo terminal into The Ark at JFK, a full-service, USDA-approved airport facility just for animals.

And from the looks of it, it's going to be doggone fancy.

No word on whether they're tuned to Animal Planet, but The Ark does have flat-screen TVs just for pets. Image by Ark Development.

Named for the biblical vessel, The Ark at JFK is more than a terminal, it's set to be a first-class destination for pets.

Opening in early 2016, the 178,000 square foot space will replace Vetport, a 10,000-square-foot facility built in the 1950s.

The Ark will house a pet spa (complete with "pawdicures"), dog suites, a cat adventure jungle, an animal training center, and a veterinary hospital. Pets can spend the night or just pop in between flights.

This is the place your dog is running to when she kicks her paws in her sleep. Image by Ark Development.

It will also be a comfy spot for larger animals like horses and livestock, who definitely can't fit comfortably under the seat in front of you.

When horses and livestock enter the United States, they're required to remain in quarantine to check for contagious diseases. Depending on their country of origin, the animal's stint in quarantine could last anywhere from three to 60 days! At The Ark, their stay will include climate-controlled, hay-lined stalls.


"What is this, Horseville? 'Cause I am surrounded by nay-sayers! Wordplay!" Quote from "30 Rock." Image by Ark Development.

This isn't just to make humans feel good about where their pets are; The Ark is designed to minimize stress on pets and livestock, thanks to input from architecture and animal experts.

The space was designed by master architects and leaders in animal facility design including Temple Grandin Livestock Handling Systems.

You may know the name Temple Grandin because she is a leading animal expert, advocate for people with autism, and the subject of the eponymous HBO film.

Grandin's systems encourage calm and humane animal transport and will be found throughout The Ark.

If you saw "Temple Grandin," you may remember Grandin espousing the importance of moving livestock in circular patterns to cut down on stress. That system will be put to use in The Ark. Image by Ark Development.

Staying at The Ark won't come cheap, but for many owners, it's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Prices for are still in the works, but a first-class dog "suite" could run pet parents $100, and that's on top of airline tickets and fees.

But for the 63% of pet owners who see their animal as a member of the family and who contributed to the $58 billion spent on pets last year, it may be a small price to pay for their comfort and safety during long and stressful trips.

I will do a lot of things in this life, but I'll never be as cool as this dog. Photo By Manny Ceneta/Getty Images.

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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.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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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.