Urban Forestry: How U.S. Cities Are Gradually Greening

Everybody loves a free giveaway. And increasingly, this affinity for freebies is being used in cities, to promote environmental...

Everybody loves a free giveaway. And increasingly, this affinity for freebies is being used in cities, to promote environmental citizenship.

Los Angeles, New York City, and Denver have committed to the Million Trees Initiative, an ongoing project to increase the urban forest and reduce carbon dioxide in the air by planting trees. Now other cities are catching on.

TreePhilly, a greening initiative led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, makes it easier for Philadelphians to improve their communities by providing residents with free trees to plant in their yards. Their goal is to plant 15,000 new trees in the city this year—part of a greater effort by the city to increase the tree canopy in Philly.

Through the program, city residents can submit an online form to request two free yard trees per address. They then pick up the trees at a Yard Tree Giveaway event, where they can learn how to properly plant and maintain the new trees.

Earlier this year, the City of Temple Terrace in Florida established a similar initiative, the Adopt-A-Tree program, which offers free trees to homeowners after a site assessment by the Code Compliance Department. Code officers then talk to the homeowner about where the tree should be planted and then buy, deliver, and plant it.

Would you plant a tree in your yard if you could get it for free?

Image (cc) Flickr user Jun Takeuchi

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

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Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

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The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

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