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.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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