Heroes

We can't wait 4 years: 800 climate scientists have united for immediate action.

The scientific community is in agreement: Climate change is real.

We can't wait 4 years: 800 climate scientists have united for immediate action.

President-elect Donald Trump has a very complicated history with climate change.

He's referred to the issue as a "hoax," one of his advisers claims the president-elect plans to scrap NASA's climate research, and Trump has even gone on record against the historic Paris climate agreement. At the same time, he's acknowledged that climate change poses a threat to his golf courses, he met earlier this week to discuss the issue with Al Gore, and in an interview last month, he told the New York Times that he's going into his presidency with an open mind on the topic.

President-elect Trump visits his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.


In the hopes of convincing the president-elect to take the actions needed to save the planet, 800 scientists joined forces to send him an open letter.

Published in full at Scientific American, the letter outlines six clear steps these members of the scientific community hope to see from a Trump administration.

What Trump chooses to do, the authors of the letter warn, will determine whether his presidency will be "defined by denial and disaster, or acceptance and action."

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

Photo by Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images.

The group also launched a public petition urging Trump to take action on climate.

Misinformation and disbelief have the potential to lead to irreversible disaster. That's why these scientists are urging action now. This can't wait four years.

Dr. Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and MIT working on energy system planning, and Ploy Achakulwisut, a doctoral candidate in atmospheric science at Harvard, helped organize the effort behind the letter. For them, the message extends beyond Trump's beliefs to the larger issue of climate change denial facing the country.

"As scientists and as citizens, Donald Trump’s anti-science climate denial scares us to the point that sitting on the sidelines is not an option," Supran and Achakulwisut explain in a joint e-mail to Upworthy.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

The letter comes less than a week after the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tweeted out a link to a factually dubious article from a right-wing media outlet.

Citing Breitbart.com, the Congressional committee's tweet refers to the roughly 97% of climate scientists who believe that climate change is real and manmade as "climate alarmists," a term the site has used on other occasions and one that does not sit well with Supran and Achakulwisut.

Seeing a Twitter account representing members of Congress responsible for crafting science policy promote false, anti-science views made Supran and Achakulwisut feel "angry, terrified, and more determined than ever to hold our leaders accountable," calling the committee's decision to share the article "a reckless abuse of power."

Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and director of the Earth System Science Center, shares a similar opinion about what it means that Congress would share such a reckless article.

"As a climate expert, I'm horrified at the ignorance and antipathy toward science that now pervades our highest levels of our government," Mann, who also signed onto the letter, writes in an e-mail. His recent book, "The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy," tackles this very challenge.

The Iguacu Falls between Brazil and Argentina. Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images.

Atmospheric scientist Kait Parker of The Weather Channel even stepped in to ask both Breitbart and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to stop using a video of her to promote misleading information.

While it's great to see climate scientists step up in defense of their work, what is there for those of us who aren't experts in the field to do?

Here's some advice from the letter's signatories: Take it upon yourself to stay educated. Don't take everything you see on the news or social media at face value. Supran and Achakulwisut recommend checking out Skeptical Science and Climate Feedback if you need to fact-check something related to climate change.

"But then we need to get out from behind our computers, speak to our friends and families, lobby elected officials, and get involved with local advocacy groups," they write. "Our own e-newsletter, Tip of the Iceberg, is one way to stay up-to-date on climate news and ways to take action."

Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America. Photo by Lance King/Getty Images.

Mann says it's important not only to stay informed, but to actively fight back against misinformation when it appears online, in the media, and in conversations with people in our everyday lives. He believes it's important that discussion be focused on what to do about climate change, not whether it exists.

The Grand Canyon. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

Others, like Jonathan Petters, data management consultant at Virginia Tech, stress the importance of thinking about how we push back and counter misinformation. Petters suggests focusing on the potential impact of human-caused climate change.

"Even if policymakers or citizens think this global warming/climate change thing is all a bunch of hooey (which it is not), there's no reason we shouldn't understand and be better prepared for impacts of extreme weather events, changes in disease and vegetation ranges, changes in agricultural potential. etc.," he writes.

We only have one planet — one spectacular, wonderful, amazing planet — and we all have a responsibility to make sure that it'll still be here for generations to come.

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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.

Images via Canva and Unsplash

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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.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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