The president might not accept climate change, but the secretary of defense sure does.

President Donald Trump might not accept climate change, but there's at least one person in his administration who does: his secretary of defense, James Mattis.

Image from Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Trump is proposing large budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, among others, and he has called climate change an outright hoax. But as ProPublica reported, Secretary of Defense James Mattis not only accepts it but is treating it as a serious challenge to national defense.


The comments came in unpublished written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that was requested as part of his confirmation.

The military's job is to prepare for the worst, so maybe it's no surprise they'd be interested in the changing climate.

At home, thawing permafrost is eroding the land out from under radar stations in Alaska. Wildfires and floods are interrupting training in the western states. Rising seas are inundating the Navy's Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, and may sink a $1 billion radar station in the Marshall Islands.

Thawing permafrost destabilized this building in the Alaskan village of Shishmaref. Image from Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.

Abroad, droughts and other stresses from climate change can stoke the fires of political instability and cause mass migrations. It may have influenced the Syrian civil war. The Navy will have to deal with an ice-free Arctic.

"Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon," Mattis said.

Military experts have previously warned the Trump administration about the dangers of climate change. Both Mattis and the Defense Department have been aware of and preparing for climate change for more than a decade. Mattis has consistently talked about addressing climate change before.

In an administration that is antagonistic toward dealing with climate change, Mattis could be a voice of reason on this issue.

Climate change is going to affect almost everything, from our environment to our economy to our military. So it's refreshing to see that someone is taking it seriously.

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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.

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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.