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8 years ago Norway gave Brazil $1 billion. Here's how they used it to save the rainforest.

Rainforests are f***ing amazing.

They look cool, they sound cool, they even smell amazing. Like a combination of roses and fresh-cut grass. No, seriously, I spent the night in a rainforest once, and I swear the air smelled like sugar and hugs.


Plus mornings look like this. Photo by me.

Rainforests also do incredible things for the climate.

They're natural carbon filters. All that nature packed into one area basically makes them giant CO2 vacuums that pump out fresh oxygen.

When it comes to clean, breathable air, rainforests have our backs.

Unfortunately, deforestation all over the world threatens to make rainforests a thing of the past.

According to National Geographic, at the current rate of deforestation, rainforests will disappear completely within a hundred years. Which would be terrible for a lot of reasons.

Deforestation in northern Brazil. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

It would hurt the environment, it could wipe out the homes of millions of animals, and it would definitely make the world a less awesome place.

The biggest rainforest in the world is the Amazon, and it's been shrinking scarily fast.

From 1970 to 2015, the Amazon lost 768,935 square kilometers (296,887 square miles) of forest — about the size of Turkey. The worst year for Amazon deforestation was 2004, when 27,000 square kilometers of forest was lost.


Time-lapse of deforestation in the state of Rondônia in Brazil from 2000 to 2010. GIF via NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.

Overall, deforestation has slowed, but a lot of work needs to be done to slow it further. Luckily, Brazil, which hosts about 60% of the Amazon rainforest, got some help.

Back in 2008, Norway pledged $1 billion to Brazil's Amazon protection fund to help it fight deforestation.

"We support Brazil's government and its efforts to preserve the forest and stop deforestation," said then-Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The funds were to extend through 2015 on the condition that Brazil provide definitive proof that deforestation was being reduced. It was a worthy challenge and an incredible call to action from a country on the other side of the world.


The Amazon River in Brazil. Photo by Christophe Simon/Getty Images.

The best part is...

Brazil crushed it.

In the seven years since the pledge, Brazil managed to reduce deforestation by a stunning 75%, which translates to about 33,000 square miles of forest saved and 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere. According to National Geographic, that's three times bigger than the effect of taking all the cars in the U.S. off the road for a year.

So yeah. Ca-rushed it.

Norway applauded Brazil's absolute home run and paid up the final $100 million in September, with Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft saying "Brazil has established what has become a model for other national climate change funds."

Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

Brazil plans to continue its work and has even pledged to eliminate deforestation completely by 2030.

It's going to take the whole world coming together to fight climate change effectively.

Brazil stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with the help of a country that is over 6,000 miles away and doesn't have an inch of the Amazon on its soil. But Norway knows we're all on this planet together.

Photo by Jerome Vallette/Getty Images.

"This is an outstanding example of the kind of international collaboration we need to ensure the future sustainability of our planet," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the Brazilian deal.

It's the type of international cooperation I know I'd like to see more of. Norway saw an opportunity to help — not themselves, but the whole world. And they helped Brazil do something amazing.

"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."

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Community

Hotel is giving away 10 all-expense-paid trips to help rebuild Patagonia hiking trail

Post your video entry by March 15 for a chance to do some good while exploring one of the world's most stunning ecosystems.

Las Torres Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park

In the far southern reaches of South America, Patagonia beckons adventurers with its striking landscape. Rugged mountain peaks, deep valley vistas, pristine lakes, virgin forests, coastal cliffs and more combine to make this semi-arid land a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.

If you've ever seen a photo like this…

hiking trail next to a lake in patagoniaHiking trail at Torres del Paine National Park in PatagoniaLas Torres Patagonia

…and thought, "I have to go see that turquoise water for myself," now's your chance. Las Torres Patagonia is offering an all-expense-paid trip (including airfare) for 10 lucky winners to travel to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and stay at the all-inclusive Las Torres Patagonia hotel for five days.

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We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

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Lamb Chop and Mallory Lewis are creating nostalgia in Mellennials

"Lamb Chop's Play Along" taught a whole generation so many meaning for things. The little sock puppet taught kids things like manners, kindness and a really annoying song that doesn't have an ending. It'll probably be difficult to find a Millennial that doesn't know "The Song that Doesn't End" by Shari Lewis who voiced Lamb Chop.

The kids show aired from 1992 to 1997 on PBS, with Shari passing away just a year later. But turns out everyone's favorite squeaky voiced lamb wasn't done bringing people joy. Shari's daughter Mallory Lewis has taken up her mom's throne as Lamb Chops handler and the internet couldn't be more thrilled to see the duo.

Mallory has the same fiery red curly hair that her mom did and has brought Lamb Chop, Charley Horse and Hush Puppy back out to play. To the delight of Millennials, the sassy lamb is still just six years old and gets Mallory into some tricky situations when trying to explain things to the puppet.

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via Sitwithit / Instagram

Validation and Hope vs. Toxic Positivity

A Helpful Chart to Explain the Difference Between Support and 'Toxic Positivity" was originally published on The Mighty.

There's no denying that positivity can be powerful. I know when I'm struggling with anxiety and negative thoughts, if I can hold onto an ounce of hope — that I'll make it through, that I'm not defined by my thoughts, that I'm not as bad as my brain is making me out to be — I can cope a little better.

The positivity we hold within ourselves, when we can manage it, makes it a little easier to get by.

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Family

How 5 diabolical parents called their kids' bluff in hilarious ways

The next generation is in great, if diabolical, hands.

Photo by Phuong Tran on Unsplash



Recently, blogger Jen Hatmaker had a funny conversation with a friend about parenting:

"My girlfriend told me the greatest story. Apparently her 11-year-old also wanted to be a grown up this week and, in fact, not only did he treat his siblings like despised underlings, but when asked what he wanted, he said: 'I want the authority to be in charge of them and tell them what to do, because they deserve it!'


Well. My girlfriend and her husband are NOT AT ALL MESSING AROUND with parenting. Calmly, evenly, they granted his request to be a grown-up for a week by pulling him out of camp (the underlings still got to go, because they are 'such children') and sending him to work ALL DAY EVERY DAY with his dad. He has to get up early and shower and make breakfast for everyone. He has to kiss the underlings before he goes to work and tell them to have a great day and that he loves them. He has to work on a typing project during his office hours. He only gets to eat what his dad eats, because eating like a grown-up is not nearly as fun as eating like a kid.


Want to be an adult? Fine."

Photo via iStock.

Hatmaker's post went viral, with thousands of parents chiming in with their own stories of tough love, both giving and receiving.

The responses were hilarious, poignant, and a sign that the next generation is being parented by extremely capable, if not a little bit diabolical, hands.

Here are five of my favorite stories from the comments about parenting-gone-absolutely-right:

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