Heroes

If the danger doesn't motivate you, maybe the price tag will.

Extreme weather in either direction means my Facebook feed is filled with jokes about climate change. (I make them, too.) But let's talk about what's actually happening when I have to wear short sleeves in the winter or my friends in Chicago end up with their eyes frozen shut two seconds after stepping outside.

If the danger doesn't motivate you, maybe the price tag will.
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Unilever and the United Nations

I live in Arizona. It's generally on the warm side, but those of us who were born and raised here reminisce about the good ol' days when summer actually came to an end in October and we got to wear sweaters and jeans in December.

These days, when many parts of the country are nearing the end of a legit fall season, temperatures in sunny Phoenix remain in the 90s. And lately, our "winters" have involved a lot of T-shirts and flip-flops.


I hear people around here joking about climate change being real — because that's the only way to explain this never-ending heat.

At the same time I was complaining about how it was too hot for me to wear my out-of-style Uggs last winter, a polar vortex hit parts of the country.

And some people were seriously saying that the cold weather meant climate change couldn't be a thing.

Fact: Climate change means we're experiencing extreme weather conditions on both ends of the spectrum, often at the same time (in different places) — unseasonably warm weather and unseasonably frickin' freezing weather, floods, and droughts.

So yeah, I can joke that climate change is interfering with my shoe game...

...but in addition to making us irritatingly hot or toe-numbingly cold, climate change is putting at risk things we depend on, like water, food, and energy.

It's putting people at greater risk for infectious diseases (can we please put a fraction of the energy into caring about that as the media put into trying to make us panic about Ebola?) and heat-related deaths. I called 911 over the summer when I saw a homeless man sprawled out on the side of a freeway access road. The temperature was 116 degrees. Heat-related deaths will only increase as our temperatures do. The CDC found that between 1979 and 2002, 4,780 people died from hyperthermia that could be attributed to the weather. It scares me to think of the data that we'll have from the next 23-year period.

If these things aren't enough, let's talk about the one that motivates a lot of people (like, say, politicians): money. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy cost $65 BILLION.

Farmers are struggling to grow crops, thanks to endless droughts and floods. (Cost to farmers in the Midwest: $10 billion.) Water supplies in Arizona, California, and Nevada are at risk. California wildfires in 2014 have cost taxpayers $260 million.

Let's not forget that climate change is affecting everyone, everywhere. And it really hits hard in developing countries, where resources are often scarce to begin with.

So it's on all of us to do something. We can't ignore the problem, deny the problem, or assume someone else will figure it out.

Courtesy of Back on My Feet
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Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

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Courtesy of Back on My Feet
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Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

Keep Reading Show less
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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Maybe before the events of 2020, you were taking your toilet paper for granted. But chances are, you aren't anymore. But aside from the shortages earlier in the year, there are larger problems with traditional TP. Specifically, it's pretty bad for the environment. That said, thanks to a company called Reel, it doesn't have to be. That's because their toilet paper is made from bamboo stalks and designed with environmental sustainability in mind.

If you've had any experience with environmentally friendly toilet paper in the past, you might be tempted to stop reading. But contrary to the prevailing stereotypes about eco-conscious TP, Reel is renowned for its quality and comfort -- so much so that the brand has sold more than a million rolls of the stuff and counting. And it's done so without contributing to the monstrous devastation of forests that's associated with the traditional toilet paper industry.


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