Heroes

These stunning photos will remind you why trees are dope.

By the end, you just may want to hug a tree.

These stunning photos will remind you why trees are dope.

Trees are no joke.

"This better be good." Photo by Fabian Bromann/Flickr.


Despite our lust for logging, trees aren't just an abundant well for our material needs. Although, if we're being honest, trees do make for some pretty sweet stuff.

Paper? Cabins? Musical instruments? Grandma’s chair? Half your pins on Pinterest?

(Remember to hug a tree.)

Yes, wood is a super-useful material. But trees are actually really amazing when they're living and in the ground, too.

There are the obvious things: Trees clean our water and air — which actually has a measurable life-saving effect. And they cool our heat-trapping cities, which helps combat global warming.

Need to cool off? Plant some trees. Photo by Guiana Bolisay/Flickr.

But here are five more subtle ways trees make our lives better:

1. Trees make us happier, more relaxed, and better learners.


Photo by EME/Pixabay.

Studies from Canada to Spain have found that living near a lot of trees can have a positive effect on our mental wellness, attention, and memory.

It's hard to say whether that's mostly attributable to exposure to fewer pollutants because of the trees, but some researchers are confident there's more to it than that.

Stephen Kellert, co-editor of the book, "The Biophilia Hypothesis," explained the idea in an interview with Yale 360, using the typical office worker as an example:

"Why do people experience flagging morale and fatigue and higher absenteeism in ... windowless environments? Why are they far far more likely to try to ... incorporate some kind of organic quality — they’ll have a Sierra Club calendar, they’ll have a potted plant. ... A lot of this is retrieving things that we’ve done in the past, intuitively, and instinctually.

2. Trees are the best recruiters for the neighborhood watch.

Photo by JohnPickenPhoto/Flickr.

A 2012 study in Baltimore found that, even when controlling for factors like race and income, areas with more tree coverage report fewer crimes. And while that observation was true for both public and private lands, it was 40% greater for public areas, which is good news for everyone.

That sounds contrary to what we might think — that trees provide cover for people who want to make bad decisions. (Watching too many crime thrillers, perhaps?)

But in reality, trees are like whispering crime-fighters. More trees in your community means more people on the streets enjoying the shade, the cleaner air, the comforting rustle of leaves — and making it harder for criminals not to be seen.

3. Trees make us less lazy.


Photo by Patrick Gruban/Flickr.

Our psychological attraction to trees also benefits our physical health. A study in Toronto discovered that people who live in areas with high tree density are more likely to be outside and physically active than their tree-deficient neighbors.

The way the researchers present their findings is pretty fascinating. They calculated the number of trees that need to be added to a city block to yield the health benefits possible with either a hefty raise at your job or even a reversal of time:

"Having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger. ... Having 11 more trees in a city block, on average, decreases cardio-metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger."

4. Trees may not grow money, but they save it.


GIF via quotesgram.

The shade from trees can cut your energy bill by a significant margin. A 2002 study in the journal Environmental Pollution says well-placed trees can cut the energy we use to cool and heat our homes by 25%.

Trees can also save the country billions of dollars in health care costs. Research by the U.S. Forest Service found that trees' modest impact in air quality improvement (less than 1%) had a massive impact on public health, saving almost $7 billion nationally on treatments for acute respiratory disorders.

5. Lastly, trees are just beautiful. And more natural beauty is never a bad thing.

Go ahead. Get an eyeful.

Rainbow eucalyptus. Photo by Jeff Kubina/Flickr.

Giant sequoias. Photo by Justin Vidamo/Flickr.

Maple tree. Photo by kloniwotski/Flickr.

Weeping willow. Photo by Christine Westerback/geograph.

Jacaranda tree. Photo by Graeme Churchard/Flickr.

Baobab tree. Photo by Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons.

Cherry blossoms. Photo by Cjbvii/Wikimedia Commons.

Birch trees. Photo by Rein Ketelaars/Flickr.

Cypress trees. Photo by Frank Schulenberg/Flickr.

Dragon blood trees. Photo by Rod Waddington/Wikimedia Commons.

Magnolia trees. Photo by Filipe Fortes/Flickr.

Kapok tree. Photo by Chrishibbard7/Wikimedia Commons.

Like I said — trees are no joke.

They cover almost a third of the land on Earth. But in places like the Brazilian Amazon — the "the lungs of the planet" and home to over half of the world's species — trees are getting dropped like a bad joke. That's bad for, well ... everyone and everything.

Wanna hug some trees? Here are a couple of ways you can do it: buy sustainably produced products that don't involve harmful deforestation, and support reforestation projects happening in your community and around the world.

"That'll do."

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

via Pexels and @drjoekort / TikTok

Gay sex and relationships therapist Dr. Joe Kort is causing a stir on TikTok where he explains why straight men who have sex with men can still be considered straight. If a man has sex with a man doesn't it ultimately make him gay or bisexual?

According to Kort, there can be a big chasm between our sexual and romantic orientations.

"Straight men can be attracted to the sex act, but not to the man. Straight men having sex with men doesn't cancel somebody's heterosexuality any more than a straight woman having sex with a woman cancels her [heterosexuality]," he says in the video.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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