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We lose the equivalent of nearly a football field worth of forest every second.

Community leader Luiz Lopes gives a tour of illegal logging near his town in Brazil. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Seriously.


We lose between 46,000-58,000 square miles of forest every year, according to the World Wildlife Fund. If you do the math, that's about 48 regulation football fields every minute.

Well over a billion people rely on forests for food and shelter. But unsustainable logging, clear-cutting, and other man-made activities are threatening our forests like never before.

The good news is that people are actively pushing back. There are major reforestation projects underway, and in some places, like Washington state in the U.S., logging companies are required to replant any areas they harvest. But a couple of workers or volunteers with shovels and backpacks just aren't going to beat fleets of chainsaws and bulldozers.

To save our forests, it's time to go high tech. Like, "flying aerial cannons" high tech.

[rebelmouse-image 19530526 dam="1" original_size="480x270" caption=""Hello!" GIF from Info Biocarbon/YouTube." expand=1]"Hello!" GIF from Info Biocarbon/YouTube.

One company, BioCarbon Engineering, wants to use flying drones to plant trees.

BioCarbon's system uses two drones. The first is shaped like a small airplane and reads the land, scanning for obstacles and picking out the best places to plant trees. The drone then feeds this information to a bulky helicopter-like drone that flies over the areas, firing pre-germinated seedlings into the soil.

Image from  Info Biocarbon/YouTube.

Their goal is to plant a billion trees a year. And they might be able to do it.

"We're firing at one a second, which means a pair of operators will be able to plant nearly 100,000 trees per day — 60 teams like this will get us to a billion trees a year," BioCarbon Engineering's CEO Lauren Fletcher told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[rebelmouse-image 19530528 dam="1" original_size="750x391" caption="Image from Info Biocarbon/YouTube." expand=1]Image from Info Biocarbon/YouTube.

The system can work 10 times faster than human hands and is cheaper than hiring laborers, according to Dr. Susan Graham, the company's CTO. It can also reach places that'd be impossible for people to get to safely. For example, the company has been testing their drones over land abandoned by coal mines in Australia.

Now that tests are looking good, the company is currently accepting customer contracts.

We desperately need our forests, and this could help balance out human impact on the world.

Forests are a vital part of our planet and provide innumerable value to both individuals and humanity as a whole. They capture carbon and provide food and shelter to both people and animals. To fix deforestation, we should consider not only good old elbow grease and local efforts, but high tech approaches as well.

And I don't really see how you could get much more high-tech than this.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


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