Twice as many American children die from gun violence as police officers and soldiers combined.

If someone can make these statistics makes sense, please do so. Because damn, America.

A study out of Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine has revealed a sobering truth about America and guns. Gun deaths among children rose dramatically between 2013 and 2017, in what researchers are calling an epidemic. In the U.S., children are killed by gunfire at rates six to nine times higher than in other developed nations.

As terrible as those stats are, this is the one that should give us all pause: In 2017, 144 American police officers and about 1,000 active duty U.S. military personnel were killed in the line of duty worldwide. In the same year, 2,462 American schoolchildren were killed by guns.


In other words, twice as many of our children were killed by gunfire than our police officers and soldiers in 2017. Twice as many innocent kids were shot and killed in the U.S. than the people whose professions are defined by willingly standing in the line of fire.

The only way to swallow those stats is to point out that there are a lot more children in the U.S. than police officers and soldiers. But we're talking about children being shot here. Every sworn protector signs up for that danger. Not a single child does.

This is the kind of statistic that makes the rest of the world look at America like we’re out of our everlovin’ minds.

How on Earth can the U.S. try to claim greatness when we don't live in a war zone and yet lose thousands of our children a year to gunfire? Because make no mistake—the U.S. is a complete outlier in this way. Children in other developed nations don't do regular active shooter drills. They don't have toddlers shooting people on a weekly basis. They don't have more children being shot and killed than police officers and soldiers in a year. They just don't.

There’s no way to make this statistic make sense other than to admit that there’s something very, very wrong with our country’s relationship with guns.

Seriously, America. This is not normal.

Finding solutions to our gun problem is not simple, but the first step is admitting we actually have a problem.

Having engaged in countless discussions on this topic, I'm well aware of the complexity of finding solutions to our gun violence problem. But what strikes me most in these conversations is how many people don't seem to feel that we even have a problem.

Perhaps we've become so accustomed to gun deaths that we think it's somewhat normal. But the lifetime risk for Americans to die from gun violence is greater than drowning, fire and smoke, stabbing, choking on food, airplane crashes, animal attacks, and natural disasters combined. That's not normal.

Or rather, that's only normal in America. And our understanding of this fact is super skewed. Our government has tried to scare us into believing that terrorists from the Middle East are a huge threat to our safety and security, even banning all travelers from certain countries in the name of that threat. And yet our chances of being killed by an accidental gunshot—not murder, not suicide, but being shot by accident—is almost five times greater than being killed by a foreign-born terrorist.

We are willing to ban entire groups of people, but God forbid we place any restrictions on inanimate objects that statistically pose a much greater threat to our safety and security. How does that even make sense?

We can't keep doing nothing unless we're willing to accept dead children as collateral damage.

It is entirely possible to respect Americans' constitutional right to own guns and also support reasonable gun legislation. Most gun owners I know support legislative measures to at least attempt to mitigate our gun death numbers. In a country with as many guns as people, figuring out what those measures should be is a serious challenge, but it's not impossible.

There are many countries around the world where people own guns without anywhere near our gun death rates. We can figure this out, as long as we're all in agreement that something has to give. Because the alternative—pretending all of this is normal and doing nothing—is unacceptable in the face of these statistics. Our children deserve to live in a country that undeniably values them more than guns. And right now, that is not the message we're sending.

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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.

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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.