This important discovery is what the Ice Bucket Challenge just accomplished.

Two summers ago, it seemed that everyone in the world was throwing buckets of ice water over their heads for the best reason — to help find a cure for a deadly disease.

ALS Association ringing the NASDAQ bell. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.


ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

The average life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years, and currently there is no cure.

Two years after the ALS ice bucket challenge rocked the internet, however, things might be about to change.

A project called MinE at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has just discovered the gene that's responsible for ALS.

Benedict Cumberbatch taking it for ALS. GIF via TastefullyOffensive.com/YouTube.

Until recently, one of the biggest obstacles to finding a cure for ALS had been not knowing what caused the disease. Now that researchers can pinpoint the gene (which is called NEK1), it will be that much easier to figure out how to reverse and/or treat its effects.

This incredible scientific breakthrough would not have been possible had MinE not received a $1,000,000 grant from the ALS Association/Ice Bucket Challenge.

As such, it's only right that we pay tribute to the many people who sacrificed their dryness and dignity for the greater good.

Chris Pratt getting drenched from above. GIF via Shine On Media/YouTube.


The moment before, with Ian McKellan and film crew. Image via Keith Stern/YouTube.

Anna Kendrick, really feeling it. Image via Shine On Media/YouTube.

Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie on the set of "Mission Impossible." Image via Mission Impossible/YouTube.

When Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were still together (sad face). GIF via ALS Ice Bucket Challenge/YouTube.

Over 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year in the United States alone. But this discovery puts us a big step closer finding a cure.

It's mostly thanks to a meme — a truth-or-dare type challenge that many at the time called pointless. This breakthrough, two years after the fact, just goes to show that virality does have power, power that, when harnessed in positive ways, can absolutely be used for the greater good.

Sure these GIFs and videos and images make us laugh, and sure, maybe some people didn't understand why they were participating or they were only doing it because their friends were, but the fact remains: The Ice Bucket Challenge inspired people to get up and actually do something that truly made a difference. And that's pretty incredible.

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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.

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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.