While Trump is retreating on climate, Volvo just made a bold move away from oil.

Volvos.

Photo by Shirley 501JFW/Wikimedia Commons.

Once preferred by sushi-eating, latte-drinking Hollywood-loving elitists, much like sushi, lattes, and Hollywood, they've now gone mainstream. U.S. sales of the Chinese-owned, Swedish-made vehicles grew by 18% last year, thanks to the most American of car models, an SUV (the popular XC90).  


If all goes according to plan, they're about to get a whole lot cleaner.

The company intends to make all new models introduced from 2019 on either hybrid or fully electric, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

In a statement, Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson heralded the move as "the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car."

While bombastic predictions from top executives about their company's impact might not be anything new, the commitment to transitioning away from pure fossil fuel power is.

While efforts to combat climate change have had a rough few months, many companies are continuing to plug along with efforts to limit emissions.

On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, the EPA continues to attempt to delay implementation of methane emission regulations and reduce global warming to a matter of debate.

Volvo Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson. Photo by Jonas Ekstromer/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, not only is Volvo seeing green in a transition to green, several major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, recently announced support for a carbon tax, and utilities across the country are accelerating their push to incorporate more renewables.

With the world's second-biggest polluter essentially giving companies a run on the emissions store, the fact that much of private industry is saying, "Eh, we're good," is a hopeful signal.

Despite its lefty rep, Volvo isn't doing this solely out of concern that emissions are devitalizing the dawn aura of Mother Gaia.

Uh oh. Photo by Steve Jurvetson/Wikimedia Commons.

The luxury carmaker faces competition from companies like Tesla, whose Model 3 is expected to start at $35,000, a still-expensive-but-way-more-affordable-than-previous-Teslas price point.

In a weird way, the cynicism of the move is perhaps the most encouraging sign of all.

It might feel icky to see saving the Earth reduced to cold capitalist calculus.

Still, absent a quickie smashing o' the industrialist class hegemony, if a major car company believes there's money to be made in transitioning away from fossil fuels, so much the better.  

Hopefully, more car companies will catch wind of that sweet, sweet money trail and follow Volvo's lead.

Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images.

The fossil fuels might be going away. Thankfully, the cupholders for your grande skinny soy aren't.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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