It's the 'biggest story in the world.' A direct appeal to one of the world's most generous givers.

He calls it the "biggest story in the world."

Newspaper editors aren't known for taking to the streets to campaign for things they're personally passionate about. But that's exactly what The Guardian's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, is doing.

In 2015, Rusbridger launched Keep It in the Ground, a climate-change campaign aimed at minimizing the future extraction of fossil fuels.

But how?


Image by Marc St. Gil/EPA.

The campaign specifically targets the world's two largest philanthropic organizations: the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, asking them to move their money out of fossil fuel companies.

The goal? For the two mega-funders to divest their investments from the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and to immediately freeze any new investments in those companies.

The Wellcome Trust is one of the world's largest funders of medical research. And the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a doing-good list that's a mile long. It's dedicated to closing the health gap between rich and poorer countries, taking on issues like ridding the world of malaria and polio, and controlling the spread of tuberculosis and HIV.


GIF via Giphy.

These groups don't fall easily into a "bad guy" category. They actually do a world of good. So why target them?

Because between the two of them, these two foundations own some $1.4 billion in oil, coal, and gas stocks.

So far about 202,000 people have signed on to the campaign, including a number of very influential people:

“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change" — Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus

What do the two heavy-weight charitable organizations think about the campaign?

The Wellcome Trust responded that the goal ought to be working with coal and oil companies, engaging them to develop alternative energy technologies. After all, aren't these companies the best positioned to invest in new forms of energy production?

To that Rusbridger says, nope. Oil and gas companies have had their chance, they're dragging their feet, and action just can't wait.

And what about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? What have they said? *crickets* Nothing. They've actually been conspicuously quiet.

So the Keep It in the Ground campaign sent a message to Bill Gates personally. Here is what they said:

What do you think? Is the Guardian asking foundations to put their money where their mouth is, or are they on the wrong track? Check out more videos, campaign updates, a behind-the-scenes podcast series, and more at the Keep It in the Ground website. If you agree, here's the link to sign a petition to let these foundations know!

via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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