7 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Save the Amazon Rainforest

Victor Moriyama/Getty Images
Victor Moriyama/Getty Images

You’ve likely heard at least one alarming news report about how Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is burning at a catastrophic rate. As emotionally devastating as it may be to see the lush, beautiful landscape ablaze, it also poses a threat to the future of Earth overall. As CNN reports, the Amazon rainforest—the largest in the world—has been called the planet’s lungs because it generates about 20 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere.

If the situation continues to worsen, the Amazon could transform into a dry savannah, driving away forest wildlife and annihilating the vegetation on which our planet relies so heavily for oxygen. In that case, the Amazon might even begin to emit carbon—the main culprit behind global warming.

As normal people with standard garden hoses thousands of miles away from the fires, it can be frustrating to feel like there’s nothing we can do. But there are still plenty of ways you can help save the rainforest—check out some ideas below, suggested by Fast Company.

1. Protect an acre of the rainforest by donating to the Rainforest Action Network.

The Rainforest Action Network works with grassroots organizations and forest communities to help establish sustainable environmental practices and combat destructive industrial activities throughout the rainforest. The lowest suggested donation to protect an acre is $25, but there’s also an option to enter a custom amount if you want to donate more or less.

2. Help buy land in the rainforest by donating to the Rainforest Trust.

The Rainforest Trust purchases sections of rainforests all over the world and then partners with conservationists on projects to preserve specific habitats, communities, and species. Among other things, they’re currently fundraising to save indigenous lands in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest—you can donate here.

3. Find sustainable rainforest products through the Rainforest Alliance.

The Rainforest Alliance’s cute green frog symbol denotes that certain forest and farm products sourced from rainforests are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. You can search here to find out what’s Rainforest Alliance Certified. You can also donate to their Brazilian Amazon conservation fund here.

4. “Adopt” a sloth from the World Wildlife Fund.

Sloths are one of the many animals threatened by deforestation and other habitat loss at the hands of humans in the Amazon rainforest. With your symbolic adoption, you can help the World Wildlife Fund cut down on industrialization and restore conditions that allow for sloths and other species to flourish and contribute to a healthy, oxygen-generating ecosystem.

5. Sign the Greenpeace petition to urge the Brazilian government to protect the rainforest.

Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro has faced backlash for championing industry over preservation in the Amazon rainforest, a strategy that many believe has exacerbated the conditions that have created the forest fires. If you’d like to add your name to the list of those who want the Brazilian government to do more to protect the rainforest, you can sign the Greenpeace petition here.

6. Support indigenous communities by donating to Amazon Watch.

A lesser-known but equally important method of preserving the rainforest is to build up indigenous communities whose knowledge, cultures, and traditional practices already protect their environment. Amazon Watch works with indigenous partners to expand their sustainable practices and defend their rights against industrial corporations who threaten their autonomy. You can donate to the cause here.

7. Eat less beef.

Maybe you’ve heard the loud whispers about how eating less meat can help save the environment, but you might not have realized its specific connection to the Amazon rainforest. As CNN reports, many of the Amazon forest fires started out as smaller fires set by farmers to clear away grazing land for their cattle. Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter, so it’s up to us to decrease the demand for rainforest-raised beef.

[h/t Fast Company]

10 Wireless Chargers Designed to Make Life Easier

La Lucia/Moshi
La Lucia/Moshi

While our smart devices and gadgets are necessary in our everyday life, the worst part is the clumsy collection of cords and chargers that go along with them. Thankfully, there are more streamlined ways to keep your phone, AirPods, Apple Watch, and other electronics powered-up. Check out these 10 wireless chargers that are designed to make your life convenient and connected.

1. Otto Q Wireless Fast Charging Pad; $40

Otto Q Wireless Fast Charging Pad
Moshi

Touted as one of the world's fastest chargers, this wireless model from Moshi is ideal for anyone looking to power-up their phone or AirPods in a hurry. It sports a soft, cushioned design and features a proprietary Q-coil module that allows it to charge through a case as thick as 5mm.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

2. Gotek Wireless Charging Music Station; $57

Gotek Wireless Charging Music Station
Rego Tech

Consolidate your bedside table with this clock, Bluetooth 5.0 speaker, and wireless charger, all in one. It comes with a built-in radio and glossy LED display with three levels of brightness to suit your style.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

3. BentoStack PowerHub 5000; $100 (37 percent off)

BentoStack PowerHub 5000
Function101

This compact Apple accessory organizer will wirelessly charge, port, and store your device accessories in one compact hub. It stacks to look neat and keep you from losing another small piece of equipment.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

4. Porto Q 5K Portable Battery with Built-in Wireless Charger; $85

Porto Q 5K Portable Battery with Built-in Wireless Charger
Moshi

This wireless charger doubles as a portable battery, so when your charge dies, the backup battery will double your device’s life. Your friends will love being able to borrow a charge, too, with the easy, non-slip hook-up.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

5. 4-in-1 Versatile Wireless Charger; $41 (31 percent off)

4-in-1 Versatile Wireless Charger
La Lucia

Put all of those tangled cords to rest with this single, temperature-controlled charging stand that can work on four devices at once. It even has a built-in safeguard to protect against overcharging.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

6. GRAVITIS™ Wireless Car Charger; $20 (31 percent off)

GRAVITIS™ Wireless Car Charger
Origaudio

If you need to charge your phone while also using it as a GPS, this wireless device hooks right into the car’s air vent for safe visibility. Your device will be fully charged within two to three hours, making it perfect for road trips.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

7. Futura X Wireless 15W Fast Charging Pad; $35 (30 percent off)

Futura X Wireless 15W Fast Charging Pad
Bezalel

This incredibly thin, tiny charger is designed for anyone looking to declutter their desk or nightstand. Using a USB-C cord for a power source, this wireless charger features a built-in cooling system and is simple to set up—once plugged in, you just have to rest your phone on top to get it working.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

8. Apple Watch Wireless Charger Keychain; $20 (59 percent off)

Apple Watch Wireless Charger Keychain
Go Gadgets

This Apple Watch charger is all about convenience on the go. Simply attach the charger to your keys or backpack and wrap your Apple Watch around its magnetic center ring. The whole thing is small enough to be easily carried with you wherever you're traveling, whether you're commuting or out on a day trip.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

9. Wireless Charger with 30W Power Delivery & 18W Fast Charger Ports; $55 (38 percent off)

Wireless Charger from TechSmarter
TechSmarter

Fuel up to three devices at once, including a laptop, with this single unit. It can wirelessly charge or hook up to USB and USB-C to consolidate your charging station.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

10. FurniQi Bamboo Wireless Charging Side Table; $150 (24 percent off)

FurniQi Bamboo Wireless Charging Side Table
FoneSalesman

This bamboo table is actually a wireless charger—all you have to do is set your device down on the designated charging spot and you're good to go. Easy to construct and completely discreet, this is a novel way to charge your device while entertaining guests or just enjoying your morning coffee.

Buy it: Mental Floss Shop

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

Vermont Just Banned Residents From Throwing Food Scraps in the Trash

Compost is delicious trash salad for your soil.
Compost is delicious trash salad for your soil.
svetikd/iStock via Getty Images

Any Vermont resident who has carelessly tossed a watermelon rind into the trash bin this month is technically a lawbreaker.

On July 1, the state passed its Food Scraps Ban, which mandates that all leftover food either be composted or donated. Not only does this include inedible scraps like pits, seeds, coffee grounds, and bones, but also anything still left on your plate after a meal—pizza crusts, for example, or the square of Spam casserole your grandmother served before you could politely decline.

“If it was once part of something alive, like a plant or animal, it does not belong in the landfill,” Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation says on its website.

While it might seem like a drastic policy, Vermont has been laying the groundwork—and developing the infrastructure to maintain it—for years. In 2012, the legislature unanimously passed the Universal Recycling Law, which mapped out a step-by-step plan to cut down on landfill waste. Over the years, recyclables, yard debris, and now food scraps have all been banned from landfills [PDF]. To help residents abide by the restrictions, trash haulers have begun to offer pick-up services for the entire range of materials, and the state has budgeted around $970,000 in grant money for compost collection and processing facilities.

According to Fast Company, Vermont officials are hopeful this latest policy will help them hit their long-standing goal of reducing landfill waste by 50 percent; until now, they’ve only been able to achieve a 36-percent decrease. And it’s not just about saving space in landfills. Food decomposes more slowly in landfills, and the process produces methane—a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Composting those scraps enriches the soil (and keeps garbage from smelling so putrid, too).

As for enforcing the Food Scraps Ban, they’re relying on the honor code.

“People say, ‘What does this mean with a food waste ban? [Are] people going to be out there looking in my garbage for my apple cores?'” Josh Kelly, materials management section chief at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, told Fast Company. “That’s not the intent of this.”

The lack of consequences might diminish the efficacy of such a law in a different state, but maybe not in eco-friendly Vermont: According to a University of Vermont study, 72 percent of Vermonters already composted or fed food scraps to their animals before the Food Scraps Ban took effect.

Though Vermont is the only state so far to enact an outright ban on trashing food scraps, you don’t have to wait for your state to follow suit to make a change. Here’s a beginner’s guide to composting at home from the Environmental Protection Agency.

[h/t Fast Company]