These stunning photos will remind you why trees are dope.

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

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."

Heroes
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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