Your coconut water may be doing a lot more for the world than you realize.

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.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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