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.


Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

Tired of avocados turning brown? Try this simple trick.

Ah, the delicious, creamy avocado. We love it, despite its fleeting ripeness and frustrating tendency to turn brown when you try to store it. From salads to guacamole to much-memed millennial avocado toast, the weird berry (that's right—it's a berry) with the signature green flesh is one of the more versatile fruits, but also one of the more fickle. Once an avocado is ready, you better cut it open within hours because it's not going to last.

Once it's cut, an avocado starts to oxidize, turning that green flesh a sickly brown color. It's not harmful to eat, but it's not particularly appetizing. The key to keeping the browning from happening is to keep the flesh from being exposed to oxygen.

Some people rub an unused avocado half with oil to keep oxidation at bay. Others swear by squeezing some lemon juice over it. Some say placing plastic wrap tightly over it with the pit still in it will keep it green.

But a YouTube video from Avocados from Mexico demonstrates a quick, easy, eco-friendly way to store half an avocado that doesn't require anything but a container and some water.

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Courtesy of Ms. Lopez
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Marcella Lopez didn't always want to be a teacher — but once she became one, she found her passion. That's why she's stayed in the profession for 23 years, spending the past 16 at her current school in Los Angeles, where she mostly teaches children of color.

"I wanted purpose, to give back, to live a life of public service, to light the spark in others to think critically and to be kind human beings," she says. "More importantly, I wanted my students to see themselves when they saw me, to believe they could do it too."

Ms. Lopez didn't encounter a teacher of color until college. "That moment was life-changing for me," she recalls. "It was the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin as a student. Always remembering how I felt in that college class many years ago has kept me grounded year after year."

It's also guided her teaching. Ms. Lopez says she always selects authors and characters that represent her students and celebrate other ethnicities so students can relate to what they read while also learning about other cultures.

"I want them to see themselves in the books they read, respect those that may not look like them and realize they may have lots in common with [other cultures] they read about," she says.

She also wants her students to have a different experience in school than she did.

When Ms. Lopez was in first grade, she "was speaking in Spanish to a new student, showing her where the restroom was when a staff member overheard our conversation and directed me to not speak in Spanish," she recalls. "In 'this school,' we only speak English," she remembers them saying. "From that day forward, I was made to feel less-than and embarrassed to speak the language of my family, my ancestors; the language I learned to speak first."

Part of her job, she says, is to find new ways to promote acceptance and inclusion in her classroom.

"The worldwide movement around social justice following the death of George Floyd amplified my duty as a teacher to learn how to discuss racial equity in a way that made sense to my little learners," she says. "It ignited me to help them see themselves in a positive light, to make our classroom family feel more inclusive, and make our classroom a safe place to have authentic conversations."

One way she did that was by raising money through DonorsChoose to purchase books and other materials for her classroom that feature diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

The Allstate Foundation recently partnered with DonorsChoose to create a Racial Justice and Representation category to encourage teachers like Ms. Lopez to create projects that address racial equity in the classroom. To launch the category, The Allstate Foundation matched all donations to these projects for a total of $1.5 million. Together, they hope to drive awareness and funding to projects that bring diversity, inclusion, and identity-affirming learning materials into classrooms across the country. You can see current projects seeking funding here.

When Ms. Lopez wanted to incorporate inclusive coloring books into her lesson plans, The Allstate Foundation fully funded her project so she was able to purchase them.

"I'm a lifelong learner, striving to be my best version of myself and always working to inspire my little learners to do the same," she says. Each week, Ms. Lopez and the students would focus on a page in the book and discuss its message. And she plans to do the same again this school year.

"DonorsChoose has been a gamechanger for my students. Without the support of all the donors that come together on this platform, we wouldn't have a sliver of what I've been able to provide for my students, especially during the pandemic," she says.

"My passion is to continue striving to be excellent, and to continue to find ways to use literature as an anchor, depicting images that reflect my students," she says.

To help teachers like Ms. Lopez drive this important mission forward, donate on DonorsChoose.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

This story was originally published on The Mighty and originally appeared here on 07.21.17


Most people imagine depression equals “really sad," and unless you've experienced depression yourself, you might not know it goes so much deeper than that. Depression expresses itself in many different ways, some more obvious than others. While some people have a hard time getting out of bed, others might get to work just fine — it's different for everyone.

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Blink 182 said it best: Work sucks, I know.

When we're kids, we dream of becoming astronauts, marine biologists, firefighters … only to discover that these jobs are nowhere near what we imagined them to be. As it turns out, all jobs require work, sadly.

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