India just planted 50 million trees to take on climate change.

Quick! Trivia question: How many trees is a lot of trees?

Photo by Abrget47j/Wikimedia Commons.


50 trees? Yep. You could argue that's a lot.

Photo by Nickrds09/Wikimedia Commons.

500 trees? That's definitely a solid amount of trees.

Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture/Wikimedia Commons.

5,000 trees? Ah yeah, that's nice. Nice, healthy chunk of trees.

Photo by Hansueli Kraupf/Wikimedia Commons.

What about 50,000,000, though?

What. About. 50,000,000?

That's how many trees were planted by volunteers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the span of 24 hours.

Photo by Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP.

"The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard," Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of the state, told participants in the effort to set a new Guinness World Record, according to an Associated Press report.

The group was attempting to shatter the previous record of 847,275 trees planted in 24 hours, which was set three years ago in Pakistan.

Peach trees in Pakistan. Photo by Junaid Ali/Wikimedia Commons.

Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the tree-planting drive, which began on July 11. Roughly 49.3 million were reportedly planted.

"I've read in a book that this tree releases maximum oxygen," eighth-grader Shashwat Rai told the AP. "There is so much pollution in the city, we need trees that produce oxygen."

Hundreds of thousands of people going out in the world to actually do something about climate change is an example we all can learn from.

Simply put, the Earth is warming because the carbon dioxide and other gases we put in the atmosphere are trapping more heat near the surface.

Trees breathe carbon dioxide.

Perhaps the easiest way to help put a pin in global warming is simply to have more trees.

And 800,000 people got off their couches to make that happen. That's pretty great.

Not to mention, trying to break each others' tree-planting records is probably the most productive manifestation of India and Pakistan's geopolitical rivalry ever.

For almost 70 years, the relationship between the two nations has been characterized by competing territorial claims, nuclear brinkmanship, and occasional armed conflict.

So if India wants to challenge Pakistan to a tree-off, I'm all for that. I'd even watch the inspirational movie about it 20 years from now. Like a chlorophyll-soaked Miracle on Ice.

Ficus! Ficus! Ficus! Photo by Steve Powell/Getty Images.

Here in the United States, we've still got to move past square one when it comes to solving climate change.

The Uttar Pradesh effort wouldn't have been possible without coordination between citizens, volunteer groups, and, critically, local government.

Meanwhile, a lot of American policymakers refuse to acknowledge that climate change is manmade and, thus, don't really want to do much about it.

It's important to call them and persuade them otherwise — and if they don't listen, to replace them with people who do.

In the meantime, we can and should tip our caps to a determined team of thousands for making their corner of the world 50,000,000 times shadier.

Trees line a highway in Uttarakhand, India. Photo by Paul Hamilton/Flickr.

In the best way possible.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 06.28.21


After Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was pursued and shot by three white residents while jogging through a Georgia suburb, Ellen and Patrick Miller* of San Diego hung a Black Lives Matter flag in front of their house. It was a small gesture, but something tangible they could do.

Like many people, they wanted to both support the BLM movement and bring awareness about racism to members of their community. Despite residing in a part of the county notoriously rumored to be marred by white supremacists and their beliefs, their neighbors didn't say much about it—at first.

Recently, though, during a short window when both Ellen and Patrick were out of the house, someone sliced the flag in two and left the remains in their yard.

via Paula Fitzgibbons

They were upset, but not surprised.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."