Ever think about how cool flying is? Here are some of the people who made it possible.
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In just over a century, air travel has made HUGE advances. It's pretty amazing, if you think about it.

The first successful airplane flight took place on Dec. 17, 1903. That wasn't that long ago! Flying is now such a normal activity that it's more shocking when someone hasn't been on a plane.

But think about it: Flying is incredible. And the fact that so many of us take for granted our ability to lift off into the sky in a large metal contraption and get across the world in a matter of hours is even more incredible.


Image via Alan Wilson/Flickr.

To get to where we are today, many people risked and lost their lives for the sake of pioneering air travel.

These people were total renegades, and their actions went down in the history books. They're the ones who made it possible for us to view flying with such nonchalance today. They laughed in the face of the naysayers and accomplished the impossible.

Here’s a look at five of these pioneers, why what they did matters — and why they’re so darn awesome.

1. Charles Lindbergh

Image by John M. Noble/U.S. Library of Congress.

Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly across the Atlantic. Without stopping. Alone. Now, this was a huge deal. People had died trying to complete this task; the technology was too new and too unreliable. But he was convinced that if he had the right plane, he'd be the one to make it. He was right.

"A pilot was surrounded by beauty of earth and sky. He brushed treetops with the birds, leapt valleys and rivers, explored the cloud canyons he had gazed at as a child. Adventure lay in each puff of wind." — Charles Lindbergh


2. Wiley Post

Image via Frank Griggs/Smithsonian Institution.

In 1931, Wiley Post and a navigator flew around the world, the first to do so. Two years later, he did it solo and faster. In addition to his record-breaking flights, he also developed the first pressure suit and helped develop the technology that created autopilot, a convenience that so many pilots today take for granted.

Flying, for him, wasn’t without its challenges. He readily hopped into these still-developing and rapidly evolving aircraft in spite of the fact that an oil field accident had cost him his left eye. In fact, he used the settlement money to purchase his very first aircraft.


3. Amelia Earhart

Image via U.S. Library of Congress.

Amelia Earhart is a legend for so much more than flying. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic — the same task Charles Lindbergh completed five years earlier — and only the second person to do so. She took on this challenge not only as a pilot and adventurer, but as a woman, a detail that only added to the resistance she faced and the voices telling her it was impossible — women weren’t supposed to be daredevils. She blazed a lightning trail for the women who followed, showing it’s OK to want to do the impossible with no apologies.

"I want to do it because I want to do it." — Amelia Earhart


4. Diana Barnato Walker

Image via U.K. Ministry of Supply/Wikimedia Commons.

Before making aviation history, Diana Barnato Walker had already established herself as a formidable female pilot. A South African heiress, Diana left what could have been a life of leisure behind to become a member of the Atagirls, a group of women who were part of the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II. Years later, she became the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound. A fellow Atagirl broke her record in 1964 — one pioneering woman pilot raises the bar for the other — so she hopped back into a plane and raised the record to 1,429 miles per hour. She was fearless, and for her, flying was simply fun.


5. Barrington Irving

Barrington Irving (right). Image via Kendrick Meek/Flickr.

As recently as 2007, there was still one pretty major "first" to be conquered in air travel. Barrington Irving became the first black pilot — and youngest — to fly solo around the world. We know that representation matters, so this accomplishment by a totally regular working-class young man who loves aviation sent waves of inspiration throughout his community in Miami and beyond. Upon landing he said:

"Everyone told me what I couldn't do. They said I was too young, that I didn't have enough money, experience, strength, or knowledge. They told me it would take forever and I'd never come home. Well ... guess what?"

Guess what, indeed.

It takes a pretty bold person to say "I'll be the first." Especially when lives are on the line. But that spirit is what pushes humanity forward.

These are just a few of the people who stepped up to the plate, and their actions helped to shape a revolutionary industry. They weren’t daunted by the very real challenges that they faced, from oppressive sexism to physical disabilities. They wanted to fly, and nothing could get in their way. And their passion? Well, it helped to change the world.

Image via Lenny DiFranza/Flickr.

The next time you're sitting in a crowded airport, impatiently trying to get from point A to point B, take a second to think about these trailblazers and how their legendary actions made the impossible possible.

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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.


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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.