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The side to the Whole Foods peeled oranges conversation you didn't see.

Backlash to pre-peeled oranges prompted an important discussion.

The side to the Whole Foods peeled oranges conversation you didn't see.

Last week, a woman named Nathalie Gordon set the Internet ablaze when she tweeted a photo and quip about some oranges at her local Whole Foods.


How wasteful, I thought when I saw her tweet. How lazy does someone have to be to not even peel their own oranges?

While it's clear Gordon was just joking around, her tweet gained immediate traction, racking up tens of thousands of likes, retweets, and replies from people with various conservationist messages and concerns about the unnecessary and seemingly wasteful use of plastic (as well as just outright demands to pull the product).


Less than three hours later, Whole Foods tweeted, "Definitely our mistake. These have been pulled. We hear you, and we will leave them in their natural packaging: the peel."


Photo from iStock.

That's the end of it, right? I thought so, too — but then I noticed a group of people responding negatively to Whole Foods' decision to pull the pre-peeled, plastic-wrapped oranges from the shelves, and the point they were making was important.

The decision to pull the product ignored the needs of individuals with arthritis and other disabilities that make peeling an orange difficult.

Members of the disabled community were quick to weigh in and provide thoughtful time- and energy-consuming responses to the decision to help able-bodied individuals understand their frustration.

New York City's first annual Disability Pride Parade on July 12, 2015. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

Kim Sauder, a Ph.D. candidate in disability studies, posted about the decision at her blog crippledscholar, "As a person with limited hand dexterity, I look at this and see an easier way to eat healthy food."

"Preparing food with limited mobility is both hugely time consuming and potentially dangerous. While adapted cooking tools do exist to help offset those issues, they are really expensive, " Sauder explained on her blog. "Anything that helps make my regular acts of daily life safer and more convenient is always a plus. So I was one of a number of disabled people who pushed back against the wholesale shaming of preprepared foods."

Others, like Eb, who is both autistic and disabled, chimed in on Twitter, writing, "There is a very real need for pre-peeled fruit, as a number of people, me included, pointed out. This should not be in dispute."


"Any time you see a 'so lazy!' product you want to dig at, 99.9% of the time it's an accessible item for someone," author Ana Mardoll explained in a series of tweets.

"It is draining, tiring, painful to continually be treated like a wrongful drain on Mother Earth because we're disabled," Mardoll tweeted. "In addition to the wrongful drain we often feel we are on families, employers, etc. We exist. We take up space. We buy pre-peeled oranges and wear Snuggies and those 'ugly' plastic shoes and have grabbers to pull up our socks."

People who live with a disability are the world's largest minority group, yet they're often treated as though they're invisible.

The potential benefit something as simple as pre-peeled oranges could have for someone living with disability isn't something that always occurs to those of us who are able-bodied, and that's due in large part to the fact that it's simply not a reality we've experienced.

When we see ramps, elevators, and other tools designed to make the world more accessible to people with disabilities, it's easy for the first reaction to be, "How lazy do you have to be to take the elevator to the second floor?" In reality, without that elevator, others may not be able to reach the second floor at all.

It's not laziness, it's life.

New York City's Disability Pride Parade on July 12, 2015. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

Just as it's easy not to see racism when you're white, homophobia when you're straight, or sexism when you're male, it's easy to see past ableism when you're not disabled.

This isn't just about a tweet or some oranges, but about how we treat the disabled community as a society.

The world is built for those of us living free from disability. And while certain things like the Americans with Disabilities Act have tried to ensure public spaces are made accessible to all, it's a far cry from true acceptance and accommodation.

What the world needs is more empathy for our fellow humans. It's the difference between remarking, "How lazy!" and instead asking, "How can I help?"

As for Whole Foods, it turns out they will continue to sell peeled orange and tangerine slices.

Asked for comment, Whole Foods told Upworthy the following:

"Many of our customers love the convenience that our cut produce offers, and this was a simple case where a handful of stores experimented with a seasonal product. Orange and tangerine slices have long been a staple favorite in our stores, and we'll continue to offer them alone with other sliced produce options for customers who are looking for added convenience. We're glad some customers pointed out this particular product so we could take a closer look and leave Sumos in their natural packaging — the peel."

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

It's possible to find a place where accessibility and minimal environmental impact meet, and hopefully Whole Foods can do that.

This isn't a zero-sum game, and there's certainly a path forward that is both accessible and environmentally-friendly. If we can seek out more environmentally-friendly solutions for things like fuel for our cars, we can do the same for the plastic we use in packaging.


Maybe that solution involves packaging pre-peeled and pre-sliced foods in biodegradable containers, maybe it involves an increased push for recycling, or maybe the solution has yet to be thought up. In the meantime, though, there are people who need their world to be accessible.

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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.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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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.