With a $30 million investment, this gas-guzzling airline is betting big on biofuels.

Just like the planes they power, biofuels are taking off.

Last year, United Airlines purchased 3.9 billion gallons of fuel.

And it cost them nearly $12 billion (and you wonder why they charge you for a little more leg room).


And can I get another bag of pretzels while we're at it? Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

But starting this summer, select United flights will run on fuel made from animal fat and farm waste.

In 2013, United agreed to purchase 15 million gallons of fuel from AltAir, an alternative fuel, or biofuel, company.

AltAir's fuel, made from farm waste and natural oils, will power flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco in select test runs over the next three years.


Watch where you step, that could be your jet fuel. Photo by Micolo J/Flickr.

While this is the first time alternative fuel is being used to fly the friendly skies, the technology is nothing new.

Biofuel can be made using vegetable oils or cooking oils leftover from restaurants and is available at filling stations across the country.

But this is the first time commercial airlines have gotten in on the act in a major way.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In June 2015, United announced a $30 million investment in Fulcrum BioEnergy, a California-based alternative fuel company.

This is a big deal for two reasons: One, this is the largest investment in alternative fuels by a U.S. airline, and two, unlike other biofuels, Fulcrum BioEnergy makes their product out of household garbage.

Yep, they make their fuel out of garbage. Gross, disgusting garbage.

Garbage is actually perfect for fuel because it contains large stores of carbon and hydrogen, which are the building blocks of jet fuel. Not to mention garbage is cheap and can be found literally everywhere.

As landfills rise, cities are scratching their heads to come up with a waste management solution. Fulcrum stepped in, making agreements with waste companies across North America.

Today, hot and smelly trash. Tomorrow, hot and smelly jet fuel. Photo by woodleywonderworks/Flickr.

About 4% of garbage landfilled annually in the U.S. winds up in Fulcrum's care.

The fuel they produce costs companies like United less than $1 a gallon — which is a great deal, considering the average cost for a gallon of non-biofuel fuel is around $2.11.


Fulcrum Bioenergy is chipping away at North American landfills. Photo by Bill McChesney/Flickr (altered).

And while news of the investment is exciting, the timing isn't that surprising, given the EPA's recent announcement about regulating aircraft emissions.

United may have seen the writing on the wall, but they're not alone.

Southwest, Alaska Airlines, and British Airways have also purchased biofuels or biofuel refineries.

Alternative fuels are a way for airlines to better their bottom line and help the planet.

Biofuels make it possible for companies to save money and cut emissions, which means it's really just a matter of common sense meets business sense.

Just like the planes they power, biofuels are ready to take off.

Bon Voyage, Big Oil. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture