What happened when the Army finally let women into its elite Ranger School? They kicked butt.

At the entrance to Camp Darby at Ft. Benning, Georgia, there's a black and gold sign that reads "Not for the weak or fainthearted."

Inside, volunteers for Ranger School face a harrowing nine-week boot camp before they can earn the coveted Army Ranger tab and join one of America's elite special operations teams. Early training includes long runs, swims in full combat uniform, and battles with the towering, infamous Darby Queen obstacle course.

And if that doesn't seem so bad to you, it gets tougher. From there, it's weeks and weeks of sleep deprivation, high-octane simulated missions, memory drills, and even more tests of strength and endurance.


Looks like fun. Photo by DVIDSHUB/Flickr.

Oh, and if you screw something up, you "get smoked," which means you stop what you're doing and start cranking out push-ups, flutter kicks, and other calisthenics until the drill sergeant says to stop, which could be a really, really long time.

Only the toughest men on the planet can make it through all this.

Oh sorry, did we say men? About that...

The first women ever — two of them, in fact — are set to graduate from Ranger School this week.

Earlier this summer, a class of 400 recruits entered Ranger School at Ft. Benning, including, for the first time ever (ever!), 20 women. It's all part of an assessment to determine how and if certain types of combat jobs should be open to women starting in 2016.

96 of the 400 recruits made it through the ordeal, and of the 20 women who set out to conquer Camp Darby, two made it through: Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver. And, no, they didn't get some kind of watered down, "Ranger School-Lite" experience designed just for the delicate sensibilities of ladies or whatever.

They came right into the boot camp and kicked some butt. As ladies do.

A female volunteer tackles the Darby Queen obstacle course. GIF from LedgerEnquirer/YouTube.

"The key is maintaining standards," retired Ranger Roger Carstens told NBC News. "To lower those standards to fit a quota is a disservice to comrades and country and could result in mission failure."

To pass, the volunteers not only need to demonstrate great leadership, an ability to follow orders, and exceptional mental toughness, they have to complete a grueling series of physical feats: including 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, and a five-mile run ... all in under 40 minutes, while starving, sleep-deprived, and being screamed at by instructors.

And having endured all of that alongside their male counterparts, these women are certified battle-ready, according to the U.S. Army.

Still, the female Ranger School grads won't be able to officially join the 75th Ranger Regiment — at least, not yet.

Women in the U.S. are just starting to get their foot in the door when it comes to combat positions. Photo by The National Guard/Flickr.

Time and time again, we've seen that when given a fair chance, women can do anything men can do (and vice versa). And it's looking like the military is finally ready to get with the times and give women a bigger role in high-stakes missions.

In January 2015, the Defense Department said that all military occupations, even combat positions, had to be open to women starting in 2016, though there may be some exceptions. The military is still trying to figure out whether women should be able to join teams like the Rangers or the Navy SEALs, for example.

But according to a U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command study, there aren't any major barriers to integrating women into an all-male SEAL team (meaning, the men they polled on said teams were like, "Yeah, bring it on!") — as long as the women can handle the physical rigors, of course. Which, you know, sort of goes without saying ... because (surprise!) men who can't handle the physical rigors aren't allowed on those teams, either.

If the success of this latest Ranger School class is any indication, we could be seeing women on these elite operations teams some day real soon.

It's about time they were given the chance to prove they belong there.

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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.

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.