Heroes

Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.

There's a lot going on behind that little green frog you might have seen.

Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.

Let's meet Adrien, a cocoa farmer who is a member of a Rainforest Alliance Certified cooperative in Ivory Coast, Africa.

He's a true pioneer of sustainability who farms in a way that protects the land for generations to come.

And he's pretty delightful.


Did you know paying attention to a little frog logo could help farmers like Adrien?

On some things you might buy at the market, there is this little frog logo.

Just what is behind that?

It means the product uses ingredients sourced from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means the farm uses methods that are good for the forest, soil, streams, and rivers — as well as for farmers, their families, and their communities. I spoke with the Rainforest Alliance to get more details.

"Rainforest Alliance certification ensures that farmers have access to housing, medical care, personal safety equipment and clean, potable water. It also promotes decent wages, educational opportunities for their children, and technical assistance to keep farmers on the cutting edge of sustainable farming practices."
— Tensie Whelan, Rainforest Alliance

It helps farmers like Adrien (above and the video below) grow sustainably and successfully. GIF via Rainforest Alliance.

The non-governmental organization started in the 1980s, and now 13.6% of all the world's cocoa is Rainforest Alliance certified as well as just over 5% of the world's coffee and several other products grown in critically important ecosystems, such as tea and bananas.

I looked, and chocolate and coffee that are Rainforest Alliance Certified are a bit more expensive. Why spend a few extra dimes on that chocolate versus the commercial brands?

Again, Tensie has the answer:

"When consumers choose to spend their money on certified products, it directly benefits the farmers who produced the crops. They enjoy better working conditions and a higher standard of life. Money is also reinvested in communities and schools, planting positive seeds of sustainability training and education for generations to come."

(Also, I checked, and much — if not all — is organic. That's worth a bit extra for me.)

In addition to that, though, some major companies use certified cocoa in their products, including some of the premium chocolates offered by Dove and Hershey's in the United States and Côte d'Or, Marabou, and Suchard internationally.

One last thing, though. You're wondering (at least, I hope you are!) which chocolate or coffee and such you can buy when you want to get Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Some links for you: chocolate and coffee. You're welcome!

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

@SubwayCreatures / Twitter

A man who uses a wheelchair fell onto the tracks in a New York City subway station on Wednesday afternoon. A CBS New York writer was at the scene of the incident and says that people rushed to save the man after they heard him "whimpering."

It's unclear why the man fell onto the tracks.

A brave rescuer risked his life by jumping on the tracks to get the man to safety knowing that the train would come barreling in at any second. The footage is even more dramatic because you can hear the station's PA system announce that the train is on its way.

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