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.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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The Delta Baby Cafe in Sunflower County, Mississippi is providing breastfeeding assistance where it's needed most.

Mississippi has the third lowest rate of breastfeeding in America. Only 70% of infants are ever-breastfed in the state, compared to 84% nationally.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life. However, in Mississippi, less than 40% are still breastfeeding at six months.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


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In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

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