The president has a superpower he uses only when he absolutely has to. He just had to.

A lot of people have been working very hard for this moment.


The POTUS put his foot down and gave a big NO to Keystone XL.

Specifically, he vetoed legislation that would build a 1,179-mile pipeline to move 800,000 barrels per day of heavy petroleum from the tar sands of Alberta to ports and refineries on the Gulf Coast. (That would be the green line on the map.)


The president says he used the veto because of lack of "consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment."

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi put it this way:

Um, what? You're dang right this is about our communities' security and safety! It's about the future of the planet!

If these two statements sound like kind of lukewarm opposition to the pipeline, you're right. Yeah.

The president hasn't really made his final position clear; he's said only that he refuses to be rushed into a decision.

In the past, he's given environmentalists serious whiplash with mixed messages, like when he said "NO drilling in Alaska" and at just about the same time said, "Drill, baby, drill — on the Atlantic Coast."

People fighting for and against the pipeline really see Keystone XL as symbolic: Build it and you are staying the course with fossil fuels.

You know, ignoring climate change and polluting oceans, land, and rivers with spilled oil: the usual stuff.

But with a veto, people are hoping the president is making a decision to reject the "big oil" status quo and seriously commit to alternative energy realities.



In Scotland in 2014, renewables like wind power overtook nuclear, coal, and gas as the main source of energy supply. Yay, Scotland!

Bottom line:

If you agree we ought to be turning away from fossil fuels, this is good news!

Go ahead, dance!

But also, share this post. Tell other people we gotta keep up the pressure. We don't need Keystone XL!

The whole world's security and safety depend on us choosing a new, climate-friendly way forward.

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

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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In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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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.