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Science

Kenyans got a 'special holiday' to plant trees that could significantly fight climate change

The government hopes that 100 million trees will be planted on the holiday.

kenya, climate change, planting trees

Kenyans plant trees on its new "special holiday."

Kenya celebrated its first “special holiday” dedicated to planting trees on Monday, November 13. The day was declared on November 6 by Kithure Kindiki, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for the Interior, who wrote, “The public across the Country shall be expected to plant trees as a patriotic contribution to the national efforts to save our Country from the devastating effects of Climate Change.”

To support the country’s efforts, the Kenyan government made 150 million seedlings available to its citizens via public nurseries and hopes that each of them will plant two trees to help reverse the effects of climate change.

The government hopes that 100 million trees will be planted on the holiday.


The holiday is part of Kenya’s Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme, which aims to grow and nurture 15 billion trees by 2032. From 1990 to 2010, Kenya’s forest cover was reduced from 12% to 6%, according to UN estimates. However, conservation efforts over the past 12 years have increased to 9%.

The UK’s King Charles, who has been a lifelong environmental advocate, praised the country's efforts at reforestation. “Having been planting trees for most of my life, I thought I was doing rather well, but your ambition for planting 15 billion trees makes me admire your efforts,” King Charles said at a state banquet.

Planting trees is one of our best tools for fighting climate change because they can absorb carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere. They also provide shade, reducing the need for air conditioning while releasing oxygen, which supports biodiversity.

A typical hardwood tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, which adds up to approximately a ton by the time it reaches 40. Unfortunately, humans dump about 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air yearly.

The holiday was celebrated by many in the rural parts of Kenya. Dozens of people came together to plant trees near the source of Kenya's second-longest river, Athi. "I have come to plant trees here because our water levels have been diminishing. Even here at the river source, the levels are very low, trees have been cleared," local resident Stephen Chelule told the BBC.

The Kenyan tree-planting holiday reminds people of the tremendous power they can have when they come together for a common cause. What if people in countries across the world made the same commitment?

The United States has 11 federal holidays, which are all dedicated to significant historical events and people. We also have Arbor Day, where people are encouraged to plant trees, and in 2022, the National Arbor Day Foundation says it helped plant more than 630,000 trees worldwide. Consider this: If we made Arbor Day a Federal Holiday where everyone gets the day off, and asked to plant two trees each, that would be over 660 million trees a year!






The Kenyan tree-planting holiday reminds people of the tremendous power they can have when they come together for a common cause. What if people in countries across the world made the same commitment?

In the United States, we have Arbor Day, where people are encouraged to plant trees, and in 2022, the National Arbor Day Foundation says it helped plant more than 630,000 trees worldwide. However, what if we made Arbor Day a Federal Holiday where everyone gets the day off, and is expected to plant two trees each? That’d be over 660 million trees a year!

The United States has 11 federal holidays, which are all dedicated to significant historical events and people. But given the incredible climate crisis we face, it would be beneficial to add one more where Americans come together to do something extraordinary for the planet that has given us so much.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

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There's not a woman alive who hasn't suffered through an unwanted come-on from a creep. Some women are so afraid of these encounters they feel they can't be as nice to men as they'd like, for fear their friendliness will be mistaken for flirtation.

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Man tries to correct a female golfer's swing, having no idea she's actually a pro

“My hope is that he comes across this video and it keeps him up at night."

Representative Image from Canva

A man tried to tell a pro golfer she was swing too slow.

We’re all probably familiar with the term “mansplaining,” when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending or patronizing way. Often, this comes in the form of a man explaining a subject to a woman that she already knows on an expert level. The female neuroscientist who was told by a man that she should read a research paper she actually wrote comes to mind.

Recently the next-level mansplaining was caught in the wild. Well, at a golf driving range anyway.

Georgia Ball, a professional golfer and coach who’s racked up over 3 million likes on TikTok for all her tips and tricks of the sport, was minding her own business while practicing a swing change.

It takes all of two seconds on Google to see that when it comes to incorporating a swing change, golfers need to swing slower, at 50-75% their normal speed…which is what Ball was doing.

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Howie Hua shares helpful math tips and tricks on social media.

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People who were born in 1999 or later have, for the most part, lived in a world where they were either too young to know what life was like before these events or weren’t born yet.

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Photo by Lisa Therese on Unsplash

The word "jumbo" literally comes from an elephant.

The evolution of language is fascinating, and the etymology of specific words can be a fun little trip through human history as well as human creativity.

Many English words are derived from Greek and Latin, but other European languages make up a good chunk of our language as well. The roots of some words can surprise us, and so can the way certain words came to be. And in some cases, what we don't know can be just as surprising as what we do.

Enjoy diving into the history of 15 words we use every day.

1. Dog

Dog is often one of the first words babies learn to say, and it's one of the first kids learn to spell. But don't let its simplicity fool you. This word is truly a mystery.

The word "dog" comes from dogca, a very rarely used Old English word, but how we started using it as our everyday name for canines, no one knows. "Its origin remains one of the great mysteries of English etymology," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Even more interestingly, no one knows the origins of the Spanish word for "dog" ("perro"), nor do they know the origins of the Polish ("pies") or Serbo-Croatian ("pas") words for our canine friends, either. Who knew dogs were so enigmatic?

2. Nightmare

It's obvious where "night" comes from in "nightmare," but what about "mare"? Surely, were not referring to a female horse here.

Horse, no. But female, yes. Female goblin, to be precise. In Old English, mare means "incubus, nightmare, monster; witch, sorcerer." And "nightmare" started being used around 1300 to refer to "an evil female spirit afflicting men (or horses) in their sleep with a feeling of suffocation." Yikes. Thankfully, now it's just any old bad dream.

3. Jumbo

We've all seen animals named for words with certain meanings, but here we have the opposite. The word "jumbo" came from a large elephant who lived at the London Zoo. Zookeeper Anoshan Anathjeysari named him "Jumbe," the Swahili word for "chief." But his status as one of the largest African bush elephants in Europe in the 19th century caused his nickname, Jumbo, to become synonymous with enormousness.

muscular man exercising

Run, little mouse, run.

Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

4. Muscle

The Latin word musculus means "little mouse." As hilarious as it sounds, they thought the movement of muscles looked like little mice scurrying under the skin, hence the origin. Kinda ick to think about, but also logical, so here we are.

5. Quarantine

Ah, a word with which we are all familiar, thanks to COVID-19. But do we know what it really means?

If you understand roots, you may guess that "quar" might have something to do with the number four, and you'd be right. In Latin, quadraginta means a period of 40 days. Our usage of "quarantine" to mean isolation from others comes from the Venetian policy of ships coming into port from plague-stricken countries in the late 1300s to remain in port for 40 days before letting people off. The usage to mean any period of time in isolation began being used in the 1600s.

6. Mortgage

Most of us grow up not really understanding what a mortgage is until we buy our first house, but even then, most of us don't know what the word literally means. It comes from Old French, mort gaige, literally meaning "death pledge."

HAHAHAHAHA. Death pledge. Mortgage. That's funny.

However, it doesn't mean you're tied to the debt til you die, even if it feels like it. The death part means the deal dies either when you pay it off or when you become unable to pay. Doesn't really change the fact that it feels a bit like you're signing your life away when you buy a house, though.

ball of yarn

What does a ball of yarn have to do with "clue"?

Photo by Philip Estrada on Unsplash

7. Clue

Oddly enough, "clue" comes from a misspelling (or alternate spelling from before standardized spelling was a thing) of the word "clew," meaning a ball of yarn.

The word itself comes from German, but its usage points to the Greek myth in which Ariadne gives Theseus a ball (or clew) of yarn to help him escape the labyrinth. Now we use it to refer to anything that helps us solve a mystery.

8. Nice

The word "nice" is nice and simple, right? It's the most basic word we use for "pleasant," a definitively positive word. But this seemingly simple word has been through quite the trek in its etymology.

From the Latin nescius, meaning "ignorant, unaware," it was used to mean "timid" or"faint-hearted" before the year 1300. A couple hundred years later, it had morphed to "fussy, fastidious" or "dainty, delicate." In another 100 years, it changed to "precise, careful." Tack on another few hundred years and we're at "agreeable, delightful," and from there it was only short jaunt to "kind, thoughtful."

What a nice journey from insult to compliment.

9. Shampoo

I would have bet money that the word "shampoo" was French in origin, but nope. It's Hindi, coming from the term champo, and the original meaning was "to massage, rub and percuss the surface of (the body) to restore tone and vigor." It's only been used to refer specifically to lathering and washing out strands of hair or carpet since the mid 1800s.

10. Torpedo

Literally Latin for a stingray. As in the marine animal. That comes from the root word torpere, which means "be numb," since a ray's sting can numb you. It doesn't become the word for a propelled underwater explosive until the last couple hundred years.

11. Ambidextrous

We know that left-handedness was seen negatively throughout much of human history, but even the word that means "able to use both hands equally" has a right-handed bias baked into it. The medieval Latin ambidexter literally meansliterally means "right-handed on both sides."

Isn't English fun?