I thought Alan Cumming had lost his mind, then I watched the video and was so wrong.

Almost everywhere you turn, there's a blood drive offering a free T-shirt and cookies. There seems to be an endless need for people to donate blood, and for good reason — donating blood saves thousands of lives every year. BUT before you think about reaching for one of those cookies, there are some rules in place to make sure YOU don't have dirty blood.

One of the FDA's most controversial rules has been around since 1977. It bans homosexual men — or, rather, ANY man who has had sex with another man — from giving blood for the rest of their lives. This came about at the onset of the AIDS crisis in America and the fear that HIV would make its way into the stockpile of blood used for transfusions. However, straight men and women can have sex with as many partners as they please and still be allowed to give blood. Stew on that for a second.


After decades of debate, the FDA has decided to lift the lifelong ban that prohibits any man who has had sex with another man to ever donate blood. We should be thrilled, right?

Not so fast. The FDA's statement stipulates that a man who has had sex with another man must remain celibate for one year before he can give blood. Yes, one year.

Sooooo, the amazing, talented, and philanthropic Alan Cumming has teamed up with GLAAD and GMHC to put together this PSA asking people to take the #celibacychallenge.

Because who wouldn't mind giving up sex for a year? You can do all sorts of lovely things. Like learn pottery...

...or take up carpentry...

...or join a Civil War re-enactment group.


RELAX. The #celibacychallenge is not what it sounds like.

The challenge is simply to sign THIS petition asking the FDA to change its questionnaire so donors are screened "based on their exposure to risk and NOT their sexual orientation."

Let's stop screening people based on sexual orientation and allow another 4.2 million people to be eligible to donate blood. That could help save up to 12.6 million lives!

Watch the video and share it with everyone you know. Who knows — it could end up saving your life.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

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First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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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.