America has more trees now than it's had in 100 years. But we're not out of the woods yet.

Trees: Green, leafy, rustling in the wind. Old-fashioned, carve your name into 'em, crash your bike into 'em trees.

Trees! Photo by Chelsea Bock/Unsplash.


America has more of them now than it's had in 100 years.

Yes! Really. This is very good news. Thanks in large part to sustainable harvesting practices and the creation of national parks, forest growth has been exceeding deforestation in the U.S. for decades.

In fact, many American forestry companies are planting more trees than they harvest. Which is pretty cool if you enjoy looking at trees or, you know ... BREATHING AIR.

The United States contains 8% of the world's forests.

That's roughly 300 million hectares of forest, which is exceeded only by Russia, Brazil, and Canada (where presumably the trees get free health care).

Right before you decorate it and watch it die. Photo by Andrew Spencer/Unsplash.

The largest area of forest growth continues to be on the East Coast.

Average wood-per-acre volumes there have nearly doubled since the 1950s. Which is amazing progress, since the East Coast was the area most heavily logged by European settlers in the 1600s.

"You ever just wonder what it's all really about, man?" Photo by Ales Krevec/Unsplash.

Even New York City, a place not exactly known for its abundance of trees, is doing its part.

In April 2007, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to plant 1 million trees in New York City by 2017. That ambitious goal was met this November with two years to spare — a once-in-a-lifetime case of government accomplishing something faster than expected.

And as if there could be more good news...

It's not just America. The world has more trees than anyone previously thought.

A lot more.

A study conducted by 38 scientists and published by the journal Nature found that there are over 3 trillion trees on the planet, several times higher than previous estimates.

There are 3 tillion trees on Earth. Pictured are some of them. Photo by Kaleb Nimz/Unsplash.

While all of these numbers are encouraging, the picture isn't entirely rosy.

The world still has fewer trees than at any point in human history. Which isn't great.

According to Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the spread of human influence has reduced the number of trees on the planet by half, which is "astronomical."

Still, the trend of tree growth in the U.S. is encouraging. Trees clean pollutants from the air, absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen. They're also home to innumerable species of life around the world.

Look at that tree just crushing it out there. Photo by John Mark Arnold/Unsplash.

In short, trees are awesome and we should have as many of them as possible. So go outside and tell a tree you love it.

Seriously. Go hug a tree. It's not that weird, I promise.

Correction 5/26/2017: A previous version of this story stated that there are 3 billion trees on the planet. The Nature study found 3 trillion, not billion. Even better.

True

Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pixabay

As people get older, social isolation and loneliness become serious problems. Many find themselves living alone for the first time after the death of a spouse. It's also difficult for older people to maintain friendships when people they've known for years become ill or pass away.

Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

But loneliness doesn't just affect those who reside by themselves. People can feel lonely when there is a discrepancy between their desired and actual relationships. To put it simply, when it comes to having a healthy social life, quality is just as important as quantity.

Keep Reading Show less