The scary thinking that drove Brexit isn't unique to the U.K.

51% of the U.K. — a majority, by a slim margin — has voted to leave the European Union.

It's a historic decision that is sure to reshape the U.K.'s place in the world and have huge implications on the global economy.

In fact, the British pound has already fallen 10% — to a 30-year low — and Asian and American stock markets are currently tumbling.



Prime Minister David Cameron resigned shortly after the decision.

David Cameron resigning his post at 10 Downing Street in London. Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images.

Although the vote is nonbinding and was extremely close ("leave" won with 53% of the vote in England and only 52% in Wales; "remain" won in Scotland and Northern Ireland), Cameron's exit signals a dramatic shift in the way the U.K. will be governed from now on.

"The British people have voted to leave the European Union," Cameron said in his exit speech. "And their will must be respected."

How the so-called "Brexit" (British exit) will affect the rest of the world remains to be seen, and its true implications will take years to come to fruition, but one alarming fact is emerging as the dust settles.

Underneath the vote is an all-too-familiar rise in xenophobia, anger, and a fear of immigrants.

Between 1993 and 2014, the immigrant population in the U.K. more than doubled, from 3.8 million to around 8.3 million — many coming from India and Pakistan, but many more coming from other European countries like Poland, Ireland, and Germany.

The European Union, which has many functions, serves as a kind of facilitator to immigration. Citizens of the EU can more easily migrate to other EU member-states.

Immigration across various countries within the EU spiked between 2004 and 2014, increasing from 25% to nearly 50%. Such an influx in immigration caused a lot of tension, and as of a 2013 survey, nearly 60% of Britons stated that they wanted immigration to be reduced a lot.

Chart via The Migration Observatory, University of Oxford.

Enter Nigel Farage, who is sort of England's version of Donald Trump. He's the leader of UKIP, which is sort of the U.K.'s Tea Party.

Farage and the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) essentially became a megaphone for the anti-immigration movement and, in turn, the Brexit movement.

Initially an irrelevant punchline in the '90s, UKIP has risen to prominence over the last couple years and has become less and less funny. In a 2015 election, UKIP received nearly 4 million votes.

Sounding familiar yet? How about this:

“There is an especial problem with some of the people who’ve come here and who are of the Muslim religion who don’t want to become part of our culture. So there is no previous experience, in our history, of a migrant group that comes to Britain, that fundamentally wants to change who we are and what we are. That is, I think, above everything else, what people are really concerned about.”

That's Nigel Farage speaking about Muslims in an interview from March 2015.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images.

Farage has also spoken of "Romanian crime waves" and immigrants stealing British jobs.

The data on immigration to the U.K. disagrees with Farage's claims, however. New immigrants to the U.K. haven't brought a crime wave. In fact, between 2013 and 2014 there was a drop in crime.

All of this anti-immigration rhetoric has been a huge factor in the growing support for, and eventual vote in favor of, Britain's exit from the European Union.

Many, though, see the new restrictions on EU-to-EU immigration as a bad thing.

As a result of the Brexit vote, "the younger generation [in the U.K.] has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries," wrote a commenter on The Financial Times. "We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages, and experiences we will be denied."

The Brexit vote was incredibly close, and looking at who actually voted to "leave" is revealing.

Areas with high working class populations turned out in record numbers and largely voted to leave the EU.

Incredibly, the Brexit movement has convinced people to vote strongly against their own economic self-interests, a phenomenon that's been observed stateside among Republican voters in the working class.

British citizens are currently watching in anger and horror as their pensions plummet and their stocks and investments go into free fall — which will have devastating effects on everyone — including those who voted in favor of Brexit.

In another frightening parallel to sentiment we've seen this election season in America, some Britons are saying they voted "leave" just to stick it to the establishment, not thinking their side could actually win.



Here in the U.S., we've seen the rise of similar sentiments to those espoused by UKIP and Nigel Farage in our own politics over the past few years — and especially in the past few months.

Despite data showing that immigrants don't cause any rise in crime or steal our jobs, or lower our wages, the Tea Party (and presumptive Republican nominee for president Donald Trump) has gained traction on the assertion that they do.

What Trump and Farage and their respective parties have in common is that they capture an idea that is rooted in fear. Specifically, the idea that their nations are being stolen away by immigrants who want to take jobs, commit crimes, and generally wreak havoc for the people who "belong" there.

That type of nativism has proven time and time again to be dangerous.

Strange things happen when xenophobia and nationalism meet an exciting new demagogue — especially when polls, pundits, and voters don't take them seriously.

Come Election Day in November, Americans should remember what happened as Brexit unfolded — and learn a lesson from what is happening in the U.K. right now.


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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.