In the Alaskan Arctic, Rue shares a story that connects African-American history with nature.
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Sierra Club

Rue Mapp started Outdoor Afro as a blog in 2009. She has an amazing, fast lesson we can all use to learn how to connect with the land.

In a video by the Sierra Club, Rue's quick lesson from the Arctic starts off at a pretty high level. She says that to protect the land, “there has to be a point of relevant relationship."


A part of what Rue means is that if we're going to manage climate change, if we're going to keep dirty fuels in the ground, then we have to feel connected to the land. Each of us.

"At the core of any kind of caring, there has to have been a relationship," she says.

To further connect with the land, Rue suggests a second step: connecting with our histories. "All of us in the United States, usually within a few generations," she says, "has significant ties and connections to land."

Standing in the Alaskan Arctic, Rue shares a story from African-American history.

Rue contemplates how Harriet Tubman had to know about her natural surroundings to help American slaves escape the horrors of enslavement on southern plantations. For example, Tubman had to know bird calls to navigate.

Rue teaches us that we can reach back into her own connection to history and explain how we can each find a connection to wild lands that can feel remote but need our attention. Lands need our attention, so humanity can stay safe. Wow.

Now is the time to make a connection with one natural area in particular: the Arctic.

Research says that all Arctic oil must stay in the ground:

"Trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world's nations."

Got that? A clarification from the same article in the Guardian:

"The research also finds no climate-friendly scenario in which any oil or gas is drilled in the Arctic."

Shell's plan to drill for oil in Arctic's Chukchi Sea threatens this Arctic habitat and threatens a secure climate future. Keep that oil in the ground. And tell President Obama he still has time to say ‪#‎ShellNo .‬

Take a deep breath, check out these amazing Arctic wildflowers, and let's connect to the land and protect it.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."