Heroes

You can learn a lot from a cat. Especially a cat that cares.

You don't have to be human to make a difference.

You can learn a lot from a cat. Especially a cat that cares.

Dealing with the mess we've made feels overwhelming. Does swapping out your lightbulbs, writing your legislators, and sorting your trash really change anything? How can one person make a difference?

It turns out that our little actions, all added up together, do make a big difference. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while they brush their teeth, the daily savings could be up to 2.528 billion gallons. That's more than twice as much water than the entirety of New York City uses in a day.


In this tongue-in-cheek video, a cat shows you how he makes a few tiny changes that have a big impact.

So, let's recap:

  1. Research renewable energy sources. Even if you don't feel up for putting solar panels on your roof, many power companies will let you pay a tiny bit more for a guarantee that your electricity came from wind, sun, or water. Call them and ask!
  2. Switch to reusable bags. Every year, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags. It takes 12 million barrels of oil to make those! Helpful tip: I use a carabiner to attach my grocery store loyalty cards to my bags, so if I remember one, I remember both.
  3. Conserve energy. You've heard this one before. Turn down the heat. Turn off your computer at night. Don't go out for just one thing but bundle your errands. Every bit of energy we don't use is some energy we don't have to produce.
  4. Upcycle junk. Turn that trash into treasure! It's fun, too.
  5. Conserve and reuse water. Did you know that a one drip per second leak adds up to 5 gallons of wasted water a day? Stop putting it off and fix those leaks! Or at least use a bowl to catch them and give it to your cat.
  6. Recycle! I know it's old news, but it still makes a difference. The energy used to make one brand-spankin'-new aluminum can makes up to 20 recycled cans!
  7. Eat fish that are sustainably caught or raised. 70% of the fish species we love to eat are close to collapse. Let's make sure our grandkids don't have to wonder what mahimahi tastes like, OK?
  8. Tell your friends! If everyone who watched this video challenged three friends to make one tiny change, before you know it, it would make a big difference. When we combine our efforts, we make serious progress.
True

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.