If you know what's good for you, you know trees are awesome.

They give us OXYGEN to breathe. And survive. The Amazon alone gives us up to 20% of our oxygen.

We also know many trees get chopped every year.

"Every year nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills." — EPA

But we don't always know when it happens in real time. Now Global Forest Watch is fixing that — with an app.

Here's how it works.


You can get tree-clearing alerts for certain forest areas.

And you get to pick that forest area! You do it on the Global Forest Watch map, and there's a "how-to" here.

Why? Because seeing is sometimes believing. Understanding the massive number of trees that are being cut down in real time — perhaps in your own area — really brings the massive damage that we're doing to the environment home. But that's not all.

You can see geo-tagged stories about tree-clearing. That's right. Stories.

Global Forest Watch has a bunch of them here, but it's a little cooler to just go to their map directly and check off "User Stories" under "People."

Eureka! You can read user-submitted stories about deforestation on the map now. (Those links are a hint!)

If you're super-interested, you can also check off to see stories from Mongabay or Earth Journalism Network.

If you have a tree story, submit one! Why?

We need to know about more than just the numbers.

It's easy to shrug off statistics, but stories make us feel things and help to make the theoretical, abstract problem of deforestation a real problem happening on our Earth, in our country, and sometimes in our backyards.

The more we know, the more we can act to stop it, even as ordinary civilians.

To find out more about what you can do, sign up for Global Forest Watch's newsletter or check out their FAQs.

And now, without further ado, here's the video about the app.