420: For some it’s simply the best time of day to spark a joint. For others it’s the day of the year dedicated to nonviolent protest against a failed drug war, or, increasingly, a day of celebration as the decriminalization effort steamrolls across the United States. However you view it, there’s no question that a secret code used by five California high school stoners in the 1970s has come to represent all things marijuana. It’s a hashtag used to unite like-minded smokers on Twitter and a dog-whistle used on Craigslist, Tinder, and other dating apps to indicate a potential mate is down to blaze up before getting hot and heavy. Even Etsy has a thriving market of 420-related crafty gear.
Now scientists at Yale University have discovered a fact sure to blow any Cosmos-loving stoner’s mind: 420 is the number of trees per person that currently inhabit Planet Earth. For those of you bad at math like I am, that’s three trillion trees. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, “trees” just happens to be slang for weed. Here’s USA Today:
Three trillion. That’s the staggering number of trees on Earth, according to a new tally that astounds even the scientists who compiled it.
Three trillion is three followed by 12 zeroes, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way and more than the number of cells in a human brain. If the new sum is accurate – and other scientists think it is – the planet boasts roughly 420 trees for every living person. An earlier count pegged the global tree total at a mere 400 billion, but that study relied on less sophisticated methods.
The Washington Post–going for the buzzkill–notes that, while impressive, the three trillion number represents a 46% decrease in total tree cover since humans started the process of deforestation:
However, in no way do the researchers consider this good news. The study also finds that there are 46 percent fewer trees on Earth than there were before humans started the lengthy, but recently accelerating, process of deforestation.
“We can now say that there’s less trees than at any point in human civilization,” says Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies who is the lead author on the research. “Since the spread of human influence, we’ve reduced the number almost by half, which is an astronomical thing.”
Sounds like one more reason for a thriving regulated hemp market to me.
Featured Image Credit: Jurassic Blueberries via flickr Creative Commons