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Joe Biden's response to a protester demonstrates the true power of empathy.

He may not know exactly what that protester was feeling, but he tried to understand.

Joe Biden's response to a protester demonstrates the true power of empathy.

While out campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Joe Biden was met with every politician's worst nightmare: protesters.

Or, rather, in this case, one very vocal protester. While the vice president was highlighting the differences between the proposed Clinton tax policy and the one put forward by the Trump campaign, he was peppered with shouts from the audience about a very different (but very important issue): U.S. foreign policy.

"My friend died," the protester, who calls himself Reinas, shouted.


"So did my son," responded Biden.

Last year, Joe Biden's son Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46. A member of the Delaware National Guard, Beau Biden served a tour in Iraq.

"I respect Biden’s son and everything he did. But I was a bit confused as to the relevance to the conversation," Reinas told The Guardian. "I am not against the Obama administration and I respect Joe Biden. After hearing what he said, I think maybe he means well, but it was evident that he hasn’t been briefed on the situation in Syria."

And he has a point. Beau Biden did not die in the war itself. And maybe that makes his retort imperfect. Even so, it gets at a deeper human issue: empathy. Reinas knows what it's like to experience the loss of someone close to him. So does Joe Biden. So do many of us.

Vice President Joe Biden with his son, U.S. Army Capt. Beau Biden at Camp Victory in Baghdad in 2009. Photo by Khalid Mohammed/AFP/Getty Images.

The crowd tried to drown out the interruption with cheers of "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" but the vice president told Reinas that he would get a chance to speak later.

"Come back after and talk to me about this. OK? You have my permission," said Biden.

And while it seems the two were unable to connect afterward due to scheduling issues, Reinas did get his phone number into the hands of one of Biden's Secret Service agents.

"At first they toyed with the idea of my meeting Biden, but in the end I was told that he didn’t have time for me," he told the Guardian. "So I offered my phone number, so that Joe Biden could contact me. I’m still waiting."

Responding well to criticism can be tricky, especially in the heat of the moment.

Invoking the heartbreaking memory of his dead son — an issue many believe directly led to Biden's decision not to run for president in 2016 — could not have been easy. But in that moment, it was necessary in order to convey that Biden, too, understood loss.

Joe Biden and his son Beau during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

Perhaps it'd have been easier to let the crowd drown out the protests. Perhaps it'd have been easier to instruct security to remove Reinas from the venue. It's a whole lot harder to open yourself up to your own personal pain and be willing to have a real conversation with a complete stranger, especially one who disagrees with you so vehemently.

Though Reinas and Biden didn't get the chance to have that one-on-one conversation just yet, their exchange stands as an admirable example of how empathy can help bridge the gaps between one another.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

via CBS This Morning / YouTube

"Exercises In Empathy" is a popular program among the inmates at Soledad State Prison in California. It's a book club where inmates get together to discuss literature with students from Palma School, a boys prep school located in nearby Salinas.

"[The students] go in thinking monster … and they come out thinking a man. A human being," Jim Micheletti, co-founder of the book club, told CBS News. "They've done bad things, but there are no throwaway people here."

A few years ago, members of the club read 1962's "Miracle On The River Kwai." The book tells an extraordinary story of survival in prisoner of war camps. In the book, the prisoners created a culture of sacrifice and called it "mucking" for each other.

So one of the inmates in the book club, Jason Bryant, decided that the inmates should "muck' for one of the students at Palma.

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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.