We're plunging this forest into a deep freeze to get a look into the future.

A bit chilly? At least you're not a tree.

Well, at least you're not one of these trees at the Hubbard Brooke Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. These trees are pretty cold.

That's because, since 2015, scientists have been putting these particular trees on ice.

All right, everyone, chill! Image from National Science Foundation/YouTube.


Charles Driscoll from Syracuse University and his colleagues are interested in how severe ice storms affect forests. There haven't actually been a lot of studies about this. But the scientists had a problem: Ice storms aren't exactly the most predictable or consistent things in nature. You can't schedule it ahead of time, after all.

So rather than wait for nature to provide a convenient ice storm, they decided to create their own.

Let's kick some ice! Image from National Science Foundation/YouTube.

Turns out there isn't an off-the-shelf forest-freezer though, so the scientists had to invent one. It looks a bit like a cross between a snowmobile and a firetruck. It uses hoses and pumps to suck up water from a nearby brook and blasts it 100 feet into the air, where the water turns into a fine freezing mist.

Of course, it only works if the air temperature is already below freezing, but overall, the effect is like putting the forest in a big wet freezer says Driscoll. "Experimentally, it worked out quite well."

The scientists have 10 roughly basketball-court-sized forest plots. Some are left alone. Others get a quarter, half, or three-quarters of an inch of ice, which allows the scientists to test different sizes of storm. For reference, half-an-inch of ice would be a pretty big storm. Three-quarters would be an epic one.

The team did a first round of freezing in early 2016. If all goes as expected, they'll do another round in January or February of 2017 and one in 2018.

"Thats the plan, assuming Mother Nature cooperates," says Driscoll.

This could help Driscoll and his team predict what the future holds for forests like this one.

What killed the dinosaurs? The ice age! Image from National Science Foundation/YouTube.

The scientists hope to get a holistic view of how a forest responds to big ice storms. They're looking at a ton of variables — how many branches are snapped off by the ice, for instance, and does all that dead wood makes wildfires more likely during other parts of the year? Are the trees growing differently? What about the birds? What about the insects? The scientists are studying all of that, both during the winter as well as the following seasons too.

"We make those measurements throughout the year," says Driscoll.

They're going to watch for both short- and long-term effects and use that information to build scientific models that can help predict how forests will respond to future storms.

My editor says I have to apologize for the Mr. Freeze puns. Image from National Science Foundation/YouTube.

This information might be good to know, since big ice storms might actually become more common in the future. We know climate change is already affecting weather patterns, and it may even be causing more of those polar vortexes that keep hitting Europe and the Northeast U.S.

It's pretty neat to see such an ambitious experiment.

"I think it's a good example of exciting experimental science," says Driscoll. They've got a lot of work ahead of them, but the results will hopefully be illuminating. "We're looking forward to seeing how the forest responds."

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.