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'Star Wars' director Rian Johnson calls for diversity with a resounding 'Hell yeah!'

There are a galaxy's worth of stories to tell. Maybe it's time to hear some new voices.

'Star Wars' director Rian Johnson calls for diversity with a resounding 'Hell yeah!'

People are really hyped about the new Star Wars movie, and based on early reviews, it seems like they're in for a treat.

"The Last Jedi" marks the ninth film in the Star Wars franchise, and it comes complete with all the hallmarks of its predecessors — whirring lightsabers, laser blasters, adorable robots, and wise old dudes with magical powers. By most accounts, it's a must-see.

This is me being excited about "The Last Jedi." Image from Star Wars/Disney.


However, there is one thing that's been the same across every film — the kind of thing you'd hope would be different for a film franchise in its fourth decade — and it's pretty noticeable when you look at all the directors it's had so far.

As you can see here, they all look pretty simil — oh wait, wrong photo.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Ah! Here. Sorry about that. Where was I? Ah, right, so if you take a look at the film's directors, you'll notice a clear trend. They've all been white men.

Clockwise from top left: Star Wars creator George Lucas, "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams, "The Empire Strikes Back" director Irvin Kershner, "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson, and "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards.

Now, of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a white man. Some of my best friends are white men. My dad is a white man, even. Nearly into double digits, however, you'd think that an epic film franchise like Star Wars would want to branch out a bit to see some fresh new perspectives. For instance, imagine what an Ava DuVernay ("Selma") or Ryan Coogler ("Black Panther") Star Wars film could look like, or maybe Patti Jenkins ("Wonder Woman") or Jordan Peele ("Get Out"). How cool would that be?

One person who thinks the franchise could use a bit of diversity in the director's chair is "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson.

When asked by Yahoo Movies U.K. whether it's time to diversify the Star Wars director's chair, Johnson responded with an enthusiastic, "Hell, yes, it’s time!"

"There are so many incredibly talented female directors, directors of color out there, and so many I would love to see play in this universe," he added. "Yes, please. I would love it to happen."

Johnson speaking at a press conference. Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney.

Unfortunately, that's not a decision Johnson gets to make. It doesn't look like there are going to be any big changes to the white, male director lineup in the near term. J.J. Abrams is set to return as director for Episode IX, Ron Howard is slated to take helm of 2018's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," and Johnson is getting his own trilogy. While things are set for a bit, the fact that the Star Wars universe keeps expanding could be cause for a new hope (Get it? Like the name of one of the movies? Get it?) when it comes to seeing some off-camera diversity.

The Star Wars franchise has done a phenomenal job when it comes to boosting on-screen diversity in recent films, and it's paid off in a big way.

Both 2015's "The Force Awakens" and 2016's "Rogue One" had female leads with a racially and gender diverse supporting cast. They both were massively successful at the box office ("The Force Awakens" made more than $2 billion, and "Rogue One" made more than $1 billion) and impressed critics as well ("The Force Awakens" nabbed a 93% Rotten Tomatoes ranking, and "Rogue One" got an 85%).

Lupita Nyong'o, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac starred in "The Force Awakens." Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney.

So while the franchise definitely deserves major kudos for its casting in recent films (perhaps they learned a lesson after the disasters that were the prequels), it'd be pretty great if the next time out, they gave someone different a try behind the camera to tell brand-new stories with a fresh perspective in that galaxy a long time ago and far, far away.

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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.

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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.