Need a reason to fight oil drilling near Alaska? We've got 5.
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Natural Resources Defense Council

Big oil is on a big mission in the Arctic.

In July 2015, the Obama administration cleared the way for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling in the pristine Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. Not. Good.

Although officials claim operations "must be held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards," not everyone's buying it. And for good reason.


Gorgeous, huh? This is Kotzebue Sound, which is part of the Chukchi Sea. Photo by Education Specialist/Flickr.

There are plenty of reasons why this is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea.

"Simply put, the Arctic may have oil, but the risks of drilling in the Arctic are too great," Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon wrote on July 30.

And in the Natural Resource Defense Council's magazine onEarth, Clara Chaisson laid out five reasons exactly why those risks outweigh any positives:

1. Oil spills: They're awful. There's a 75% chance a large one will happen with this new Shell project. A 75% chance.

2. The Arctic: a hellish place to clean up oil. Unpredictable, icy conditions and a lack of infrastructure up there means a spill would be difficult to take care of quickly.

3. Shell's track record in the Arctic: abysmal. From putting workers in unsafe conditions to contributing to illegal levels of pollution, Shell has whatever the exact opposite of a clean record is when it comes to operating in the Arctic.

4. The Chukchi Sea: filled with wildlife. Yeah, it's cold, but the region is home to many species that could be negatively impacted — including polar bears, who use the area as birthing grounds.

5. Climate change: This won't help fight it. This project will only further create an infrastructure that promotes carbon pollution for decades to come.

Here's where you come in. Because, believe it or not, you have something an oil company doesn't: a vote.

In a video produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), actor Robert Redford spelled out why we still have leverage over a corporation like Shell.

GIFs via NRDC.


You don't have to wait until election season. You can throw your support behind NRDC's efforts to keep the Chukchi Sea oil-free by signing this petition:

"Tell President Obama to act now to safeguard our natural heritage, our climate and our children's future by stopping Big Oil's invasion of the Arctic and put us on the path toward a clean energy future."

And then watch Robert Redford break down how we can stand up to big oil:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

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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.