Lego's new minifigure may be tiny, but its impact will be huge.

Last week, the world's biggest international toy fair took place in Nuremberg, Germany.

It might not be a notable event for most of us. After all, it was the 67th one and if you're a parent of young kids, every day can feel like a big, messy toy fair in your own house. But it was actually quite significant.

Toy giant Lego unveiled a tiny figure that represents big progress in the evolution of toys — something that's about so much more than another little Lego minifigure you risk stepping on and experiencing seventh-circle-of-hell-level pain.


Lego will soon release a figure that uses a wheelchair.

Photo by Daniel Karmann/AFP/Getty Images.

Yep, that's right! Photographers at the event snapped pics of a Lego guy in a wheelchair (alongside a Lego dad pushing a baby in a stroller and a Lego mom holding a bottle).

Photo by Daniel Karmann/AFP/Getty Images.

Washington Post reported that the Lego figure will be available in June as part of a City Set. (Lego didn't respond to Upworthy's request for comment.)

While the creation of this new figure is a big deal, the movement that may have led to it is too.

London-based journalist and mom of two Rebecca Atkinson has long wanted toys to be more representative of all kids.

Atkinson's doctors discovered she was partially deaf when she was 3 years old. When she was 17, she began losing her vision.

Rebecca Atkinson. Photo used with permission.

I grew up with two hearing aids," Rebecca said. "When I was a child, I never saw myself represented in the toys I played with, in the books I read, or in the TV shows that I watched.”

And that's a problem.

One year ago, Atkinson decided to do something about it by launching a campaign called Toy Like Me, a movement to encourage toy manufacturers to create more diverse toys. "I'm determined to change the toy box for generations to come before the rest of my vision goes," she told Upworthy.

To get the ball rolling, she made some model toys, like a Tinker Bell with a cochlear implant, a doll in a wheelchair, and figures that used guide dogs.

Photo provided by Rebecca Atkinson/Toy Like Me. Used with permission.

The Toy Like Me movement gained momentum, and soon, others were sharing their own modified toys on social media with the hashtag #ToyLikeMe.

Photo provided by Rebecca Atkinson/Toy Like Me. Used with permission.

Atkinson harnessed the power of social media — and the voices of those who want more diversity in toys — to petition toymakers directly.

She created a change.org petition to Playmobil nine months ago, asking the company, "Where are your wheelchair wizards, blind fairies, genies with hearing aids, and princesses with walking frames?"

Over 50,000 people must have wondered the same thing because the petition received that many signatures.

And guess what? Playmobil responded just one month later, reaching out directly to Atkinson. She's been working with them as a creative disability consultant and a line of characters with disabilities with be released in 2017. Success!

Next up: She set her sights on Lego.

Photos provided by Rebecca Atkinson/Toy Like Me. Used with permission.

Eight months ago, Atkinson created a change.org petition directed to Lego, asking them to "think outside the brick box. Mix it up a bit! Add some brawn, stamina, a few sweat bands, couple of half pipes, and some lightning fast wheelchairs."

Over 20,000 people signed the petition and then ... silence.

Until last week, when this guy made his debut at the toy fair.

Photo by Daniel Karmann/AFP/Getty Images.

"I hope that the work we have done to raise the issue in the toy industry has in part had some influence on Lego to create this figure," Atkinson said. "We are certainly very happy to see it happen."

Happy indeed! Because representation matters — both to kids with disabilities and kids without.

Atkinson was emphatic about what this new Lego figure means:

"The message behind Lego’s wheelie boy is so much larger than his teeny-tiny stature. His birth in the toy box marks a seismic shift within children’s industries. There are 150 million children with disabilities worldwide, yet until now they have scarcely ever seen themselves positively reflected in the media and toys they consume... This says Lego is behind disabled kids, that they are part of the cultural mainstream.

In addition to kids with disabilities seeing themselves represented positively in their toys and in the media, diverse toys matter to all kids. When they're introduced to differences, disabilities, special needs, and racial diversity early in life — through their toys and other exposure, like kids' movies and cartoons — and the characters are presented as perfectly normal individuals, kids learn that differences are, in fact, perfectly normal.

Imagine a world where a kid's first exposure to a child in a wheelchair or a child who is missing limbs is a non-event because they've been playing with toys with similar differences from the beginning. That sounds like a great world to me.

And don't forget another important point: Our voices matter.

Companies respond to what consumers want, and we're seeing it happen with toy manufacturers. American Girl recently released a diabetes care kit after an 11-year-old's social media movement encouraging them to do so received a lot of support. Playmobil has a line of toys with disabilities in the works. And now Lego is introducing a minifigure in a wheelchair.

Social media and the collective power of our voices really can change our kids' future for the better, one Lego at at time.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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