In the Alaskan Arctic, Rue shares a story that connects African-American history with nature.
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Sierra Club

Rue Mapp started Outdoor Afro as a blog in 2009. She has an amazing, fast lesson we can all use to learn how to connect with the land.

In a video by the Sierra Club, Rue's quick lesson from the Arctic starts off at a pretty high level. She says that to protect the land, “there has to be a point of relevant relationship."


A part of what Rue means is that if we're going to manage climate change, if we're going to keep dirty fuels in the ground, then we have to feel connected to the land. Each of us.

"At the core of any kind of caring, there has to have been a relationship," she says.

To further connect with the land, Rue suggests a second step: connecting with our histories. "All of us in the United States, usually within a few generations," she says, "has significant ties and connections to land."

Standing in the Alaskan Arctic, Rue shares a story from African-American history.

Rue contemplates how Harriet Tubman had to know about her natural surroundings to help American slaves escape the horrors of enslavement on southern plantations. For example, Tubman had to know bird calls to navigate.

Rue teaches us that we can reach back into her own connection to history and explain how we can each find a connection to wild lands that can feel remote but need our attention. Lands need our attention, so humanity can stay safe. Wow.

Now is the time to make a connection with one natural area in particular: the Arctic.

Research says that all Arctic oil must stay in the ground:

"Trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world's nations."

Got that? A clarification from the same article in the Guardian:

"The research also finds no climate-friendly scenario in which any oil or gas is drilled in the Arctic."

Shell's plan to drill for oil in Arctic's Chukchi Sea threatens this Arctic habitat and threatens a secure climate future. Keep that oil in the ground. And tell President Obama he still has time to say ‪#‎ShellNo .‬

Take a deep breath, check out these amazing Arctic wildflowers, and let's connect to the land and protect it.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

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Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

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@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

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