Ethiopia planted 353 million trees in 12 hours, according to a government official, in an effort to combat climate change, land degradation, and the country’s deforestation crisis.
353,633,660 Tree Seedlings Planted in 12 Hours. This is in #Ethiopians
— Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (@DrGetahun) July 29, 2019
According to the U.N., Ethiopia’s forest coverage has dropped from 35% to just 4% over the course of a century. And these problems are made worse by Ethiopia’s dependence on agriculture: 80% of Ethiopians rely on agriculture for their livelihood.
While facing this crisis, the second-most populous country in Africa is doing something about it and neither denying its existence nor blaming other countries for their “not very good air.” Additionally, Ethiopia isn’t refusing to cooperate with the global community to mitigate the effects of climate change.
*Cough, cough, Trump, cough, cough*
In 2017, the land-locked country joined 20 other African nations in a pledge to restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030. As part of that commitment, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched The Green Legacy initiative, which shattered the world record for most trees planted in a day, previously held by India with 66 million.
Ethiopia planted a record-breaking 350 million trees in 12 hours to fight climate change pic.twitter.com/QUTTe3RRyk
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 30, 2019
In a recent study, researchers from the Swiss university ETH Zurich found that reforestation could be the most effective, cheapest way to take on climate change.
According to their findings, restoring forests could capture an estimated 205 billion tons of carbon or two-thirds of the carbon released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity.
Furthermore, they concluded that the land best suited for this reforestation is in Russia (151 million hectares), USA (103 million), Canada (78 million), Australia (58 million), Brazil (50 million), and China (40 million).
PM Abiy Ahmed met with @WFPChief to discuss further strengthening support to #Ethiopia. WFP have been engaged in food security & nutrition, and early warning & climate action among other focal areas. The two planted seedlings as part of the #GreenLegacy initiative. #PMOEthiopia pic.twitter.com/UhK9nkHG4n
— Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) July 25, 2019
The authors note that planting trees would not be a quick-fix for climate change, and could take decades to reach this carbon-capturing potential. Plus, from my own experience planting trees in my yard, I can confirm that growing trees do indeed take mad long.
They say that the best short-term solution would be to stop deforestation, which claims 15 billion trees per year, and according to the World Wildlife Fund is responsible for more than 15% of global greenhouse gases.
In the meantime, other countries have committed to massive tree-planting initiatives. Australia announced it would plant 1 billion trees by 2030; China’s “Great Green Wall” (lol) program has planted more than 50 billion trees. Additionally, the Bonn Challenge aims to restore more than 350 million hectares of degraded land globally by 2030.
Ethiopia has plans to plant more than four billion trees by Oct. We could stand to follow their example.
— Amir Aman, MD (@amirabiy) July 29, 2019