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Kroger (Earth Day)

Did you ever stop and think about the awesome, transformative power of the coconut?

Not only does it have seemingly endless uses, but each one has the ability to make our day a little bit better.

The inside of a fresh coconut. All photos via Kroger.


Its juice revitalizes us when we're depleted, its oil is great for cooking and making our skin silky smooth, and its meat makes a delicious, healthy snack.

Those are just some of the ways coconuts do right by the people who buy its byproducts. But coconut consumers aren't the only ones singing praises to the coconut — to the people who harvest them in the far-reaching corners of the world, coconuts can truly be life-saving.

And we're not just talking about any old coconuts — we're talking about Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Coconuts.

In order to understand what that means, let's journey to the 7,100 fecund isles of the Philippines.  

Just a few of the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines.

Many of these islands are volcanic, which means they're home to a specific assortment of natural minerals. Couple that with abundant salt from the ocean and warm, moist air, and you have prime territory to grow the best coconuts.

It's no surprise the organic brand Simple Truth® has decided to source coconuts from The Philippines to make a variety of products; everything from lip balm to coconut oil and water.

But their reason for choosing this particular locale goes much deeper than ideal growing conditions. The Philippines is also home to one of the major hubs of Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit that has made it a mission to support and give back to the farming communities it works with.

These small-scale farmers can often get lost in the shuffle of the world trade market. Fairtrade works to empower them, their families and their communities all while promoting environmental sustainability.

Considering all that, it's fitting that the coconut tree symbolizes the Tree of Life in the Philippines — because that's exactly what it sustains.

A coconut tree farmer picking coconuts in the Philippines.

As such, Fairtrade is sort of like the fertilizer that keep those trees healthy and plentiful.

"The meaning of Fairtrade for us is equity in trade, rich and poor, because everybody benefits," says Sherley De Guzman, a local Fairtrade member in the Philippines.

Economically speaking, Fair Trade helps level the playing field for smaller farmers by giving them a boost in the trade markets, helping them negotiate better prices for their products, and advocating for better agricultural techniques.

Then, of course, there's the social impact — Fairtrade bolsters these farming communities by improving their housing, medical care, and educational resources.

The coconut's looking pretty mighty right now, huh?

It’s nice to know that when you buy Fair Trade Certified products, you're not only helping these farmers, you're helping to keep the planet healthy, too.

Remember how many uses the coconut fruit has? Well that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"Almost every single piece of the coconut tree and the coconut are used in different things. It's truly a zero-waste plant," explains Jessica Custer, Fair Trade USA senior supply chain manager.

And when distributors like Kroger stock their shelves with Fair Trade Certified products, like Simple Truth Coconut Water, they're supporting sustainability at its most impactful level.

So the next time you're eyeing a coconut water in the store, remember: The brand you buy really does matter to the land it came from and the people who made it.

Enjoying the coconut is good for you on so many levels — why not return the favor to the people who make that possible?

It's just one more thing we can add to the long list of super powers this fruit possesses. Since the coconut came from the Tree of Life, it's only fitting that we should return the favor.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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