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The Earth's forests have regrown an area as large as France since 2000
via Trillion Trees

An encouraging study published by Trillion Trees shows that nearly 59 million hectares of forests — an area larger than mainland France — have regrown since 2000.

Trillion Trees is a joint venture between World Wildlife Fund (WWF), BirdLife International, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

This newly-regenerated forest has the ability to store 5.9 gigatons of CO2, roughly the same amount of emissions generated by the U.S. every year.


Forests are a vital part of the fight against climate change. Trees work to lower the Earth's temperature through a process known as photosynthesis. A 2017 study found that forests and other ecosystems could provide over one-third of the reductions needed to keep global warming below 2 °C through to 2030.

The green areas show the areas of dramatic regrowth.via Trillion Trees

One of the biggest success stories in forest regeneration is the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. An area roughly the size of the Netherlands has grown since the start of the new millennium. This was done through a wide variety of initiatives from planned projects to responsible industry practices.

Other places that have seen dramatic change are the boreal forests of northern Mongolia, central Africa, and the boreal forests of Canada.

"Deforestation is at the center of our climate crisis, and we must do everything we can to halt it," said Josefina Braña Varela, vice president and deputy lead for forests at WWF. "In addition, the restoration of our natural forests will play an essential role in preserving these critical ecosystems. The analysis provides a positive outlook for natural regeneration—but this growth doesn't happen without careful planning, increased investment, and strong policies in place that lead to an increase in forest cover."

The study also provides a road map for future reforestation projects which are sorely in need as the Earth's temperature rapidly rises.

"This map will be a valuable tool for conservationists, policymakers, and funders to better understand the multiple ways we can work to increase forest cover for the good of the planet," said John Lotspeich, executive director of Trillion Trees.

Lotspeich believes that we have little time to waste if we want to reach the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement.

"The data show the enormous potential of natural habitats to recover when given the chance to do so. But it isn't an excuse for any of us to wait around for it to happen," he said.

via Dr. Alexey Yakovlev / Flickr

The news is definitely positive but there is still much work to do. Even though there has been substantial reforestation in some parts of the globe, the Earth is still losing an area about the size of the UK every year, largely due to the timber industry and agriculture.

"Deforestation still claims millions of hectares every year, vastly more than is regenerated," William Baldwin-Cantello of WWF said in a statement.

"To realize the potential of forests as a climate solution, we need support for regeneration in climate delivery plans and must tackle the drivers of deforestation, which in the UK means strong domestic laws to prevent our food causing deforestation overseas," he continued.

The good news is the study proves that reforestation can happen at a pretty rapid pace if we just leave mother nature alone and let her do her thing. If only we learned that lesson earlier.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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