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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.

Justin and Dr. Key|TikTok

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Justin, a dad that runs the TikTok page drumbeatlane took to social media to tell the world of the current nightmare fuel parenting situation he was experiencing. He's also doing parents on social media a solid by giving them a heads up on the disturbing secret plaguing the parenting world–pinworms.

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Mark Wahlberg on why, as a Hollywood A-lister, he won't deny his faith

"I don’t want to jam it down anybody’s throat, but I do not deny my faith."

Actor Mark Wahlberg at the 'Contraband' Movie Premiere In Sydney, Australia

Hollywood isn’t a place where people typically talk about their faith. In a world run by free-thinking creatives and people with secular, progressive values, those who hew to more traditional, conservative Christian beliefs tend to be less visible.

But Mark Wahlberg has no problem being vocal about his Catholic faith, which must be refreshing to the approximately 61 million Catholics in America.

Wahlberg spoke about the balance he has to strike between his private and professional life on the Today show on February 22, also known as Ash Wednesday to Christians. The “Boogie Nights” actor wore an ash cross on his forehead to commemorate the holy day.

“It’s a balance,” the 51-year-old actor said. “I don’t want to jam it down anybody’s throat, but I do not deny my faith. That’s an even bigger sin. You know, it’s not popular in my industry, but I cannot deny my faith. It’s important for me to share that with people. But, I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so it’s important to respect and honor them as well.”

He also believes in leading through his example instead of pressuring his four children to follow his faith.

“I don’t force it on them,” he said. “But they know that Dad can’t start the day without being in prayer, can’t start the day without reading my Scripture or going to Mass. And hopefully, instead of forcing that on them, they’ll say, ‘Well, if it works for Dad, maybe it’ll work for us,’ and they’ll kind of gravitate towards it on their own.”

Wahlberg can keep his faith strong while dealing with the pressures of Hollywood thanks to his relationship with Father Flavin, a parish priest who helped him make drastic changes in his life. As a young man, Wahlberg was a high school dropout who had multiple run-ins with the law. But Flavin has helped him turn his life around.

“He’s been in my life since I was 13,” Wahlberg said of Flavin. “He married me and my wife and baptized all my children.” It's also believed that Flavin helps Whalberg choose his movie roles that “honor his religious roots.”

The “Father Stu” star says that his faith has helped him develop the discipline to be a successful actor.

"Discipline has always been important for me in life," he told Today. "Once I started getting into movies and transitioned from music, I realized I needed a lot of discipline in my life, and that discipline has afforded me so many other things. I’ve been rewarded for it so much, and I want to share that with people, whether that’s with fasting, working out more, detaching from other things and just spending more time with God, in prayer or in thoughtful reflection. Those things are important."

Wahlberg’s ability to live a life in alignment with his faith is noble in an industry that can easily challenge one’s moral compass. It’s also noteworthy that has chosen to live by example instead of being preachy and is accepting of those who may believe differently.


This article originally appeared on 2.24.23

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