Ethiopia planted a record 350 million trees in 12 hours on Monday as part of an audacious project to protect its environment.
When Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, first announced an ambitious campaign to plant 200 million trees in a single day, many passed it off as brash talk. But come mid-afternoon of Monday, 29 July 2019, the record books had been ripped and 350 million trees had been planted across Ethiopia.
The mass tree-planting is part of the Green Legacy Initiative by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister who started things off himself by chipping in with a few seedlings of his own in Arba Minch, southern Ethiopia, on Monday morning.
Prime Minister Abiy started the campaign to create awareness about the importance of fighting environmental degradation in the country and public offices in the capital, Addis Ababa, were shut down for civil servants to take part in the campaign.
Data from the United Nations says Ethiopia’s forest coverage has fallen from 35 percent of the total land in the early 20th century to a little over 4 percent in the 2000s. The country has also faced severe droughts in recent years. Relentless tree-planting was, thus, prescribed as one way to tackle the problem. And the country is taking this quite seriously too.
To achieve the lofty initial target of 200 million trees in one day, Ethiopia — a country of 100 million people — needed each citizen to plant at least two seedlings. But they went several times better, eclipsing India’s record of 50 million trees in one day; a feat that needed 800,000 volunteers back in 2016.
Prime Minister Abiy’s tree-planting exercise was observed in 1,000 sites across Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria, tweeted that more than 350 million trees were planted in 12 hours.
— Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (@DrGetahun) July 29, 2019
The aim is to plant a total of four billion indigenous trees between now and October. Since the campaign was first announced, promotional videos have run on state media urging the public to plant and care for trees.
Apart from the locals, members of staff of the United Nations, African Union and foreign embassies in Ethiopia also participated in the exercise.
It is not yet clear if the Guinness World Records is keeping an eye on Ethiopia’s mass tree-planting scheme but there are indications from the office of the Prime Minister that the tree count is being watched by specially-developed software.
Much has been made of the need to plant more trees to cushion the effects of climate change and global warming — the bane of the so-called modern world — but not much work has been done to match all the talk and demonstrations that have become rife lately.
Ethiopia’s gargantuan efforts is a very big step in the right direction and if anybody thought 4 billion trees in 6 months was a tall order, today’s showing is proof of what can be achieved if the world truly comes together to combat climate change.
Featured Image Courtesy: BBC