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Science

U.S. government says it will plant 1 billion trees over the next 10 years

This could make a world of difference.

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.

The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

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All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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Joy

A woman treats her miniature pig like a toddler and it even 'talks' with electronic buttons

Merlin will tap buttons that say “eat,” “outside” and “ice cream.”

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

A woman treats her pig like a toddler and the internet can't get enough.

Pigs are cute. Well, piglets are cute, but they usually don't stay those tiny little snorting things very long. That is unless you get a mini pig and name it something majestic like Merlin. (I would've gone with Hamlet McBacon, but no one asked me.)

Mina Alali, a TikTok user from California, has been going viral on the internet for her relationship with Merlin, her miniature pig. Of course, there are plenty of folks out there with pigs—mini pigs, medium pigs, pigs that weigh hundreds of pounds and live in a barn with a spider named Charlotte. But not everyone carries their pig around on adventures like it's their child.

Alali's videos of her sweet interactions with her little pig have gotten a lot of people wanting their own piggy, but training Merlin wasn't always easy. According to Yahoo Finance, the 25-year-old told SWNS that she has wanted a pig her whole life and finding Merlin was a "dream come true," but she wasn't expecting how challenging it would be to train him. If you've never been around pigs, then you may not know that they squeal—a lot—and unless you're living on an actual farm, that could be a problem.

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Democracy

More than seven thousand people shared their best ideas to stop mass shootings. Here are the best.

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A makeshift memorial after the 2019 El Paso mass shooting.

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It’s hard to see these stories in the news every few weeks—or days—and not get desensitized, especially when lawmakers have made it clear that they will not do anything substantive to curb the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.

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Pop Culture

People rally behind a 12-year-old actress who was 'humiliated' with a 'Razzie' nomination

The parody awards show has now enforced an age limit rule to its nominations.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong in the 2022 film 'Firestarter'

Since the early 80s, the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the "Razzies," has offered a lighthearted alternative to the Oscars, which, though prestigious, can sometimes dip into the pretentious. During the parody ceremony, trophies are awarded to the year’s worst films and performances as a way to "own your bad," so the motto goes.

However, this year people found the Razzies a little more than harmless fun when 12-year-old actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong was nominated for "Worst Actress" for her performance in the 2022 film "Firestarter." She was 11 when the movie was filmed.

Sadly, this is not the first time a child has received a Razzie nom. Armstrong joins the ranks of Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," as well as Macaulay Culkin, who was nominated three times.

Armstrong's nomination resulted in a flood of comments from both industry professionals and fans who felt the action was cruel and wanted to show their support for the young actress.

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