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Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

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Since prehistoric times, purslane has been grown by humans around the world, from Australia to the Middle East to Asia. Nik West / Getty Images

By Jared Kaufman

This Friday, May 22, marks the International Day for Biological Diversity. Every year, the United Nations uses this day as an opportunity both to celebrate the Earth's stunning biodiversity and to recognize our task to protect it.

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At first sight, it seems more CO₂ can only be beneficial to plants, but things are a lot more complex than that. sarayut Thaneerat / Getty Images

By Sebastian Leuzinger

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

If carbon dioxide levels were to double, how much increase in plant growth would this cause? How much of the world's deserts would disappear due to plants' increased drought tolerance in a high carbon dioxide environment?

Compared to pre-industrial levels, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the atmosphere will have doubled in about 20 to 30 years, depending on how much CO₂ we emit over the coming years. More CO₂ generally leads to higher rates of photosynthesis and less water consumption in plants.

At first sight, it seems more CO₂ can only be beneficial to plants, but things are a lot more complex than that.

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Plants growing inside of a greenhouse nursery. pixinoo / Getty Images

Indoor farms can grow vegetables close to cities, where there are lots of people to feed.

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A woman gardens in an urban vegetable garden on April 17, 2020 in Annecy, France. Richard Bord / Getty Images

By Jennifer Atkinson

The coronavirus pandemic has set off a global gardening boom.

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Woman building a diy insect hotel outdoor. Guido Mieth / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Courtney Lindwall

If you're one of those people cooped up safely at home, with creative energy and free time to spare—count yourself lucky. Here, we've rounded up a list of two dozen environmental projects that can make your time indoors, or right outside, a little brighter. Whether you're ready to start rescuing more of your kitchen scraps, sewing your own cloth napkins, or documenting those backyard butterflies, we hope these simple green ideas will provide a calming means of coping during these unprecedented times. Have fun and stay safe.

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Mushrooms have a remarkable ability to absorb carbon amongst their many other industrial, nutritional and pharmaceutical benefits. Katy Ayers / Facebook

Mushrooms have a remarkable ability to absorb carbon amongst their many other industrial, nutritional and pharmaceutical benefits.

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Several flower species, including the orchid, can recover quickly from severe injury, scientists have found. interestedbystandr / CC BY 2.0

Calling someone a delicate flower may not sting like it used to, according to new research. Scientists have found that many delicate flowers are actually remarkably hearty and able to bounce back from severe injury.

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By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

A growing number of people are choosing to reduce or eliminate animal products in their diet.

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Lioness displays teeth during light rainstorm in Kruger National Park, South Africa. johan63 / iStock / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of government negotiations scheduled for next week on a global plan to address the biodiversity crisis, 23 former foreign ministers from various countries released a statement on Tuesday urging world leaders to act "boldly" to protect nature.

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The common giant tree frog from Madagascar is one of many species impacted by recent climate change. John J. Wiens / EurekAlert!

By Jessica Corbett

The human-caused climate crisis could cause the extinction of 30 percent of the world's plant and animal species by 2070, even accounting for species' abilities to disperse and shift their niches to tolerate hotter temperatures, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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