Today is International Day of Forests, a global celebration of the importance of trees in our everyday lives. You're a techie who spends all day in front of your computer and you haven't cracked a window recently? Forests still matter, a lot.

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This year's theme, "Forests and Climate Change," is intended to raise awareness of the key role forests play in tempering Earth's climate, and how forests can be a part of the solution to anthropogenic climate change in the future. Forests soak up carbon dioxide and release oxygen, keeping our atmosphere cool and breathable. They produce many of the raw materials we depend on, and harbor the lion's share of Earth's biodiversity. Also, they're just generally awesome.

A few fun facts about Earth's forests:

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  • One in four people depend on a forest for their livelihood.
  • Rainforests cover 2% of the Earth's surface but are home to 50% of all plants and animals.
  • Forests supply 75 % of our planet's fresh water.
  • Deforestation accounts for up to 20 % of human greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A soccer field's worth of forest is lost every second, or a region the size of Panama each year.

He lives in a forest. Lip Kee / Flickr

Go on, crack a window, hug a tree today, or take a walk in the woods if you can. [National Geographic via Inhabitat]

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Top image: Moyan Brenn /Flickr