Heroes

The U.S. and China have agreed to do something we hadn't dared hope for.

Here are eight reasons why the world is now a better place.

The U.S. and China have agreed to do something we hadn't dared hope for.
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Unilever and the United Nations

1. After not doing anything about it for decades, China and the U.S. have agreed to tackle a big problem.

The two countries are the world's biggest producers of the greenhouse gas CO2. They signed an agreement to cut CO2 and other emissions that cause climate change.


Here's the tweet from the White House:

2. This is the first-ever pledge like this from China, and it's ambitious — to get 20% of its energy from non-greenhouse-gas-emitting sources by 2030. Here's the fact sheet from the White House with a few more details.

3. Here in the U.S., lots of politicians have pointed to China as the reason the U.S. should not sign climate treaties. What will opponents of climate change action use as an excuse now? Check out this spot-on video from Climate Desk of what the excuses sound like:

4. The agreement means a lot of support for ongoing U.N. climate talks aimed at a worldwide deal on lowering emissions set for Paris 2015.

5. This kind of commitment means a big boost to investors and green energy markets around the world. According to the fact sheet: "It will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States." Whoa. That's a lotta business.

6. The agreement also points the way to more China-U.S. cooperation in the future. The agreed-on collaborations include the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, phasing out other pollutants, launching a Low-Carbon Cities Initiative, promoting trade in "green goods," and supporting pilot programs that demonstrate clean energy on the ground.

7. China's environment is a mess, so this investment in cleaner energy is a great thing for their air, land, and water.

8. The U.S.-China deal builds on commitments President Obama made in 2009. We aren't starting from scratch here, and this agreement helps reinforce steps we've already taken. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, since Obama took office, wind energy production in the U.S. has tripled and solar energy has increased by a factor of 10. But others point out that's not enough. This new agreement keeps us moving in the right direction.

So, this new U.S.-China deal isn't binding, and already critics are throwing around words like "charade," but a quick look at the Twittersphere shows that for all of us wondering if we were ever going to see strong leadership on climate change from the biggest contributors, this is a very welcome and hopeful surprise.

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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.

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via Jess Martini / Tik Tok

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A woman in New Zealand recently lost her son in a Kmart but was able to locate him because of a potentially life-saving parenting hack she saw on TikTok a few months ago.

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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.

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Gates Foundation

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President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

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Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

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