Heroes

More than 44,000 people came together to set the Guinness World Record for reforestation.

More than 44,000 people came together to set the Guinness World Record for single-day reforestation efforts.

More than 44,000 people came together to set the Guinness World Record for reforestation.

A group in Ecuador set a world record over the weekend by planting nearly 650,000 trees in a single day.

Agence France-Presse reports that on May 16, 2015, nearly 45,000 people took part in the largest single-day reforestation project ever. In total, 647,250 trees (and more than 220 species of plants) were planted on roughly 5,000 acres of land, marking a new Guinness World Record. Woo!


Volunteers begin reforesting an area near Catequilla, Ecuador. Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.

Better than just a world record, these reforestation efforts will help Ecuador reach its own national target to conserve and restore more land than is deforested between 2008 and 2017.

Since 2008, the country's environment department notes, deforestation has been reduced by more than 50% of the historical rate, protecting 4.3% of the total land area (which comes out to the equivalent of something like 840 million trees, but who's really counting, anyway?).

A child plants one of more than 200 species of plants during Saturday's record-setting day. Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.

Reforestation helps offset the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through "carbon sequestration."

Essentially, there are two approaches to reducing the amount of carbon in our atmosphere: reducing the amount of emissions being produced (obviously) and sequestration, which deals with the carbon itself.

Trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide, pulling it from the atmosphere and using it for — you guessed it — fuel. Trees have some other benefits, too, like improved air, water, and wildlife, and some protection against erosion.

Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.

Trees are absolutely crucial to the fight against climate change.

While this seems pretty obvious, it's easy to forget. A great many things can affect climate change, from the things we eat to the cars we drive to the energy we use to power our homes. But the number of trees out there absorbing carbon are important factors, as well. Deforestation intensifies climate change, and reforestation and conservation efforts help push back.

Imagine how good things could be if every country had a day like this.

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 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."