Heroes

Pope Francis just nailed why everyone affected by the economy should care about climate change.

He just schooled the world on why a warming planet deserves all our attention.

Pope Francis just nailed why everyone affected by the economy should care about climate change.

"The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."

A tweet by an environmentalist? Nope. The pope!




The papal leader has always been a pretty devout champion for Mother Nature actually.

He's called out the link between capitalism and global warming by pointing out how deforestation is hurting farmers. He's also repented for humanity's "wrongful mistreatment of our planet."

But this week, he upped his eco-friendliness to a whole other level.


A pretty-big-deal letter he wrote to other religious leaders leaked a few days ago. And, for the first time ever, the letter (often referred to as the "encyclical" for people who like big words) focused on taking action against climate change.

In the draft, which was officially released by the Vatican on Thursday, June 18, 2015, the pope noted "the last decades of global warming have been mostly caused by the great concentration of greenhouse gases ... especially generated by human action."

Here's that fancy encyclical from the pope pointing out why climate change is awful. Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/Getty Images.

Some might not realize that climate change is directly related to one of Pope Francis' concerns: inequality.

Inequality?

GIF from "Real Housewives of Atlanta"

In April 2014, he tweeted: "Inequality is the root of social evil." Turns out, it's related to environmental evil too.

As the United Nations pointed out in a report last year, those who are "socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized" will be most affected by drastic changes in the climate.

Climate change produces more extreme weather. And when horrible storms hit, poor communities are affected worse than rich ones.

Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer told The Guardian last year that rising global temperatures can also reduce crop yields, which can lead to higher prices for the food we eat. It's a change that'll disproportionately affect — yep, you guessed it — people living in poverty.

Of all the moral topics of interest to Catholics everywhere, Pope Francis decided to focus on climate change in this super-important letter.

That's pretty huge.

Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images News.

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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

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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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.