Want to see stronger climate change policies? Elect more women as lawmakers
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Despite the denial of the misinformed and delayed actions of politicians, climate change is the story of our time. Every reputable scientific organization on the planet agrees. Every signatory to the historic Paris Accord, which is basically every single one of the world's countries, agrees. Even the U.S. government agrees, with official government climate change reports totally contradicting what the president says and tweets. If we fail to address the very real threats climate change poses to life on our planet, it will be to our peril.

So what do we do about the fact that he leaders of the world are failing to address climate change in a meaningful and effective manner? According to a study out of Australia's Curtin University, there is one promising solution—elect more women into office.


RELATED: Look at the photos and videos of thousands of youth demanding climate change action NOW.

The study, which examined the legislatures of 91 countries, found that the more women a country has in lawmaking positions, the more stringent the country's climate change policies are. Conducted by economics professors Astghik Mavisakalyan and Yashar Tarverdi, the study included many different factors, including GDP per capita, education statistics, and the political orientation of each country. According to the study authors, none of these factors could explain the link between greater female leadership and stronger climate policies.

In fact, their findings indicate that "this relationship is likely to be causal." In other words, it appears that placing women in positions of power may lead directly to stricter climate change legislation. And that relationship has real world impact as well. The study shows that "through its effect on the stringency of climate change policies, the representation of females in parliament results in lower carbon dioxide emissions."

We've seen how women of all ages are leading the charge when it comes to climate change. From the mighty teen Greta Thunberg to the mighty elder Jane Fonda, the health and future of our planet is in strong female hands. But to make a difference in the halls of government, where earth-saving regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuels takes place, we need more women in positions of direct lawmaking influence. It's not enough to have women raising their voices—we also need them taking seats in legislative bodies.

RELATED: Think women don't win elections? They do. And more of them should run.

Considering the fact that women are more directly impacted by the effects of climate change, perhaps the findings of this study are not surprising. Add in the fact that women statistically make better leaders than men, and it makes sense that female lawmakers would be more likely to lead the way on the world's most pressing challenge.

Naturally, battling climate change is not as simple as electing more women, and there is certainly debate to be had on how best to mitigate the climate crisis. But it's not debatable that immediate action is vital for the well-being of our planet and every living thing on it. It's now clear that women take fiercer action on climate change when they are elected, and it's been proven that women win elections when they run. So this seems like a no brainer.

Let's get more women on the ballot and elect more of them to office. The future of our planet might literally depend on it.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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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.