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climate change; new trees; U.S. planting trees

U.S. quadrupling the number of new trees planted.

For the past several years we have watched a good portion of the West Coast's forests catch fire, displacing families and decimating the trees. Climate change has contributed to many of these devastating fires and its impact has been devastating. Trees are home to forest animals and provide much-needed protection for the Earth by their ability to remove carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into oxygen. The importance of trees in the battle against climate change is not lost on everyone, which is why the Biden administration announced its plan to plant more than 1 billion trees over the next decade.


Yes, that's billion with a "B." The trees will be planted across the acres of scorched and dead forests in the west where thousands of acres of trees are lost to wildfires every year. Normally, the forest would begin to regrow without human intervention but climate change is affecting the ability for it to regrow naturally due to the increased heat of the recent fires. Trees being unable to regrow naturally has caused a backlog of 4 million acres that need replanting, according to the USDA.

Most of us learned at some point during our school years that trees are important for people. We learned they produce oxygen, provide shade and are habitats for animals such as squirrels, chipmunks and birds. But we didn't fully appreciate how much trees help combat climate change until the situation reached near crisis levels.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, forests help to improve water quality in streams, lakes and rivers and filter pollutants out of the air. National forests absorb more than 50 million metric tons of carbon each year in the United States alone. The Arbor Day Foundation also explains that "forests increase rainfall, prevent drought, and cool the overall temperature of the planet." Fruit and nut bearing trees also help with food security. The more you think about the purpose that trees serve, the more you grow to love them, even if they drop a never-ending supply of leaves on your lawn every fall.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Last year, the U.S. Forest Service replanted 60,000 acres but plan to now replant about 400,000 acres a year—more than quadrupling the amount of acreage. In 2015, 10.1 million acres burned after a record-setting fire season but 2022 is on track to meet or exceed that massive number. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the reforestation plan, "Our forests, rural communities, agriculture and economy are connected across a shared landscape and their existence is at stake. Only through bold, climate-smart actions ... can we ensure their future.”

The Forest Service plans to continually increase its spending on reforestation over the years, with plans to spend up to $260 million annually under the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year. Currently the Forest Service has invested more than $100 million this year for reforestation.

While this plan to replant a billion trees is a good one, it's important for people not to become complacent with hoping someone has a quick-fix plan. Trees take time to grow and we still have to do our part to reduce how much humans as a whole are adding to climate change. In the meantime, we should still celebrate this victory.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

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Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

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Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

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Sandler's daughters held nothing back.

Clearly the funny gene runs in the Sandler family. Comedy aficionado Adam Sandler just proved it after reading an insanely funny acceptance speech, which was allegedly written by his two teenage daughters— Sunny, 14, and Sadie, 16. It was such a savage roast, one is compelled to not doubt the claim.

The event was the prestigious Gotham Awards in New York, where Sandler was set to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award. Michelle Williams and the late Sidney Poitier were also honored, just to give you an idea as to how highbrow this event was.

But did that stop Sandler’s daughter from going all out? It did not. They were hilariously ruthless.

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Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
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