'Chocolate forests' are coming to save the Amazon, and all is right with the world.

Fellow chocolate lovers, you're going to be soooooo giddy about this news.

As someone who keeps a bag of chocolate chips going at all times, I've often found myself bummed out by reports on the chocolate industry. Many chocolate producers use cocoa harvested by child labor, which is totally not OK. (It's why I try to buy fair-trade chocolate whenever possible.) Some national parks in West Africa have been demolished to make room for more cocoa farms — again, not OK.

But some recent news out of Brazil has us chocolate fans jumping for joy over our beloved cacao bean.


Dried cacao beans. The magic has already begun. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

According to a report from Reuters, Brazilian cattle ranchers are starting to transform their used-up pastures into cocoa farms. Cattle ranchers have been the primary drivers of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. (You know, that big bunch of trees that provides 20% of the Earth's oxygen.)

Thanks to environmental regulations, ranchers are restricted from clearing more of the forest to graze their cows.

Clearcutting the Amazon rainforest to graze cattle? No, thank you. Filling this land with cacao trees? Yes, please. Photo by Antonio Scorza/Getty Images.

And thanks to cows who eat gargantuan amounts of grass each day, ranched land is becoming too depleted to continue growing grass to feed them. So ranchers are moving in a new direction — toward chocolate.

"Move toward chocolate" is pretty much my life motto, so I'm totally feeling this change. And thankfully, so are environmental groups.

Because deforestation for ranching has had such a detrimental impact on the Amazon region, alternative use of land that includes planting greenery is a welcome change. Both The Nature Conservancy and the Amazon Fund — a Brazilian government initiative to combat deforestation — support the move to plant "chocolate forests." They're even helping finance new cocoa plantations, with the Amazon Fund giving more than $5 million in grants to cocoa farmers.

A cocoa farmer in Brazil checks his crop for me. I mean, not exactly for me, but kinda for me. I'll happily buy your chocolate, sir. Photo by Yasoyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

That's good news for ranchers-turned-farmers because according to a study done by Brazilian environmental group Imaflora, cocoa can be up to five times more profitable than cows.

"Besides being a means of avoiding deforestation," The Nature Conservancy said on its website, "cocoa plantations favor the local, regional and national economy."

I'm going to forgive The Nature Conservancy for their lack of an Oxford comma because hello, more chocolate!

Is there anything more beautiful than a big ol' bin of chocolate with a big ol' scoop in it? Maybe the Amazon rainforest. Could be a tie. Photo by Stephen Chemin/Getty Images.

Ranchers trading in cows for cocoa means less Earth-killing deforestation and more life-giving chocolate. In other words, all our dreams are coming true.

Let's just recap, because I can't get over the awesomeness of this news:

The Amazon rainforest affects everyone in the world as does its destruction. Not only does a fifth of the oxygen we breathe get produced there, but the process of deforestation also adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Deforestation = bad. Chocolatization = good.

A farmer in Brazil tending to drying cacao beans. I like him a lot. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

Not only can cocoa farms can help reclaim some of the Amazon land that's been clear cut for cattle ranching, but ranchers-turned-farmers can make more money and have a more sustainable livelihood with cocoa. Boom.

Economic prosperity = also good.

And then there's the environmental aspect. Cocoa farms offer many of the same benefits as natural forests, absorbing carbon dioxide, boosting water resources, and helping revive native plants and wildlife.

In addition, some environmental group funding includes a mandate that farmers plant native species, such as mahogany and ipê, along with the cocoa plants. Taller trees provide shade for the cocoa and help replenish the natural landscape.

Reforestation = so much good.

Look at all the pretty green. Life-giving oxygen, life-giving cacao pods. Perfect. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images.

Did I mention this also means more chocolate for us? *HAPPY DANCE*

The chocolate industry has taken a big hit in recent years. I've seen several reports of a "chocolate crisis" due to disease, weather, failed crops, etc. Some experts have even predicted a global chocolate shortage in the next few years.

OMG, THAT'S SO NOT OK.

This is why a cocoa boom in the Amazon is extra, extra good news for us chocoholics. And the fact that this boom is also helping the environment — in addition to helping farmers in Brazil's struggling economy — means we can feel extra good about our chocolate habits.

I feel you, Lucy. GIF via "I Love Lucy."

I'm telling you, this is Cubs-win-the-World-Series kind of news. I'm just going to revel in it as I toss back my daily serving of chocolate chips. (Fair trade, natch.)

Cheers, chocoholics!

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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.

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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.

Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

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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.

Welcometoterranova 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 "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

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

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Gates Foundation

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We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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