When a reporter made fun of Justin Trudeau for taking the bus, he had a great comeback.

Shortly after being sworn in, new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers picked a novel way to travel to their first cabinet meeting.

Photo by Geoff Robins/Getty Images.


All together. On a bus.

Similar to this one. Photo by Eastmain/Wikimedia Commons.

The sight of powerful government officials crammed together in one large vehicle struck Peter Mansbridge of the CBC as funny:

"It still feels like you should be singing, like, some 'We're going to camp' song," Mansbridge said.

To which Trudeau responded:

(To be fair, Trudeau did acknowledge that he and his cabinet probably won't always take the bus — and would occasionally opt for a car service or a limo as their jobs required it.)

Trudeau is right. Lots of people do take the bus to work.

Not a lot of high-profile reporters and politicians, perhaps, but lots of regular people, many who don't have the option to travel by private car.

At the same time, there's a stigma associated with taking the bus. Wealthy riders often frequently avoid buses — both because they tend to live in lower-density areas and because bus travel is so firmly associated with poverty.

When the rich and powerful do take public transit — like when Jake Gyllenhaal or Jay-Z takes the subway — it's often portrayed as a big deal, as if it's somehow generous or "real" of them to travel the way millions of regular commuters do each day.

As a result, cities often don't seem to care all that much about bus lines or their riders.

Cities really should care more about public transit — and invest more in it.

Photo by AEMoreira042281/Wikimedia Commons.

Unlike cars, which can deliver five to seven people to a destination in a single trip (and, real talk, typically carry just one or maybe two during your average rush hour), buses can carry dozens in the amount of road space occupied by just two or three cars. Not only does that help clear up road congestions and lower total emissions, but there are massive economic benefits to providing cheap transportation to people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it.

According to a 2013 Rutgers University study, increasing the number of available public transit seats by 10% can increase total wages in a city by over $1.5 billion per year (this includes not just buses but subways, light rail, and other methods).

That's why Trudeau's offhand response is actually kinda great.

Photo by Miles, the MBTA Guy/Wikimedia Commons.

No one should be stigmatized for riding the bus — from the prime minister of Canada to a single mom trying to get to her second job. Poor and middle-class people need safe, reliable means of getting to work just like wealthier people, and they shouldn't be shamed for taking one that's cheap, convenient, and environmentally friendly.

Which is why it's so important for cities to keep those wheels going 'round...

And 'round.

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.

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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.