Heroes

Why Bill Gates' new, ambitious plan to stop climate change just might work.

Bill Gates is announcing a game-changing energy initiative to fight climate change.

Why Bill Gates' new, ambitious plan to stop climate change just might work.

Bill Gates is behind a brand new, game-changing effort taking aim at carbon emissions.

And it's a big move, even by Bill Gates' standards.


Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images.

The philanthropist, Microsoft co-founder, and drinker of water-that-was-once-poop is behind a two-pronged international investor-backed push to curb global warming while fighting poverty.

At the UN climate talks in Paris this week, the billionaire is announcing two initiatives that prioritize clean energy technology around the globe.

The first initiative Gates is proposing is called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

It's a group of (very) wealthy business leaders who've agreed to invest billions of dollars into "companies that are taking innovative clean energy ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace," Gates wrote on his blog.

The list of 28 investors is impressive.

It includes people like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg...

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

...as well as founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson...

Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for Free The Children.

...Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos...

Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images.

...and Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who earlier this year agreed to give his entire fortune (somewhere in the ballpark of $32 billion) to philanthropic efforts.

Photo by Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images.

The second part of Gates' announcement is an initiative called Mission Innovation.

Mission Innovation is comprised of 20 countries that have agreed to double their public clean energy research and development investments throughout the next five years.

This is huge! Not only does it include commitments from several big carbon-emitters, like the U.S., but also from less developed — but rapidly growing — countries, like China and India.

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014. Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images.

Gates is putting his money where his mouth is, too. Just a few days ago, he committed to putting $2 billion of his money toward clean energy research and development.

In his blog post on the announcement, Gates made sure to point to the importance not just of energizing the developing world in order to fight poverty, but doing so with clean resources:

"The world is going to be using 50% more energy by mid-century than it does today. That should be good news, especially for the world's poorest, because right now more than 1 billion people live without access to basic energy services. Affordable and reliable energy makes it easier for them to grow more food, run schools and hospitals and businesses, have refrigerators at home, and take advantage of all the things that make up modern life. Low- and middle-income countries need energy to develop their economies and help more people escape poverty.

But the world's growing demand for energy is also a big problem, because most of that energy comes from hydrocarbons, which emit greenhouse gases and drive climate change. So we need to move to sources of energy that are affordable and reliable, and don't produce any carbon."

Gates' big news is just one reason to be excited by what's happening in Paris right now.

The COP21 climate summit launched in France on Monday. And if we're lucky, history will remember it as a truly pivotal moment in the global fight against climate change.

Photo by Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images.

Beyond Gates' new initiatives, leaders from over 150 countries are in the French capital to reach a legally binding agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead. The big picture goal is to keep global temperatures from rising two degrees Celsius from preindustrial levels — a key factor in avoiding the worst climate change has in store for our world.

If ambitious goals are set, the world has every reason to be hopeful — especially as those objectives will be agreed upon in a city still healing from recent terror attacks.

"What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it," President Obama said in a speech at COP21, referencing the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks in Paris.

Climate change is a big problem. It will take big solutions to solve it.

But between Gates and Obama — and the 100-something other countries that are on board — it certainly looks like we have a fighting chance at keeping our planet green for generations to come.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."