We owe a huge thanks to the heroes on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic

As the world faces a global pandemic, there are millions of people we all should be thanking—the doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel who are on the front line of the war against COVID-19.

While many of us are trying to figure out how to stay away from people as much as possible to avoid illness, these folks are gearing up for battle and running into the fire. People who work in clinics, hospitals, and care facilities are the courageous heroes of this worldwide story, knowingly putting themselves at risk to save lives.


In China, it was a young physician—an opthamologist named Li Wenliang—who first sounded the alarm in Wuhan about the virus. He was also among the first wave of people to die from it. Liu Zhiming, a neurosurgeon who was the director of Wuhan's Wuchang Hospital and who led its coronavirus response, also succumbed to the virus. Doctors there have worked tirelessly to treat an outbreak of an illness that none of them had seen before, some dying of fatigue and exhaustion as well as the infection.

Doctors in current outbreak epicenters, such as northern Italy, are working round the clock as hospitals are overwhelmed with critically ill patients. In some places, they are having to choose which patients they will treat with the equipment they have, and which will be left to perish—a horrifying position to be put in, but reality when there are more patients than respirators.

Iran has announced that the country will designate medical staff who have died from COVID-19 as "martyrs," giving them the same honor as slain soldiers.

Nurses, who rarely get the recognition they should for the vital work they do already, are also making sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty. A nurse named Alessia Bonari from Tuscany, Italy shared a selfie on Instagram that illustrated what doctors and nurses are going through in a country where more than 10,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 800 have died of the virus.

Her face chafed from the protective mask she's been wearing, Bonari shared her feelings of fear, exhaustion, and determination as she and her colleagues wage war with the outbreak:

"I am afraid because the mask might not stick properly to the face, or I might have accidentally touched myself with dirty gloves, or maybe the lenses don't cover my eyes fully and something slipped by.

I am physically tired because the protective devices hurt, the lab coat makes me sweat and once I'm dressed I can no longer go to the bathroom or drink for six hours.

I am psychologically tired, as are all my colleagues who have been in the same condition for weeks, but this will not prevent us from doing our job as we have always done. I will continue to take care of my patients because I am proud and in love with my job.

What I ask anyone who is reading this post is not to frustrate the effort we are making, to be selfless, to stay at home and thus protect those who are most fragile."

We're just beginning to see the strain this virus will place on health workers here in the U.S. In Kirkland, WA, EvergreenHealth hospital went from no coronavirus cases two weeks ago to being swarmed by more than 40 suspected or confirmed cases of the virus in one night.

The New York Times described the sobering reality in the Washington hospital:

"Caregivers who had been sent home into quarantine had to be called back to work to face the overwhelming task at hand. Engineers spent late nights scrambling to overhaul rooms so that contaminated air could not escape. Sanitation and janitorial crews struggled to swab down rooms where even a trace of the virus could infect the next patient. Supplies were so strained that nurses turned to menstrual pads to buttress the padding in their helmets."

And yet, manager of trauma services Barb Jensen told the Times that they've not had any issues with staff not wanting to come in to work. "We've had staff calling and say, 'If you need me, I'm available.'"

Just as we praise soldiers, firefighters, and police officers for running toward danger, we should praise everyone working in medicine right now for what they are doing—or what they may soon have to do. They are the ones who have to face this threat head-on, being exposed far more than any of the rest of us, and saving those of us who fall critically ill from it.

Thank you, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel who are on the front lines of this pandemic. You are heroes daily anyway, but you deserve an extra dose of appreciation as we battle this new enemy.

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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.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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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.

Welcometoterranova 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 "Welcometoterranova-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.