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Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone." - Hermann Hesse
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Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

Postby Spiritwind » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:23 pm

Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

1.5 Million Volunteers Plant 66 Million Trees in 12 Hours, Breaking Guinness World Record

https://www.ecowatch.com/india-trees-wo ... 69239.html?

The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh set a new Guinness World Record on Sunday after 1.5 million volunteers planted more than 66 million tree saplings in just 12 hours along the Narmada river.

The effort bested the state of Uttar Pradesh's previous record-breaking feat, when 800,000 participants planted 50 million trees in one day in July 2016.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, boasted the achievement: "I am extremely proud to happily share that people of Madhya Pradesh successfully planted 6.63 Crore saplings today." One crore is 10 million.

According to a press release for the occasion, the aim of the mass-planting event was to raise awareness for the nation's "make India green again" plan. At the Paris climate conference, India pledged to increase forest cover to 95 million hectares (235 million acres) by year 2030 and is putting $6.2 billion towards the effort.

"I am greatly indebted to all who are planting trees today," Chouhan also told India.com. "We will be contributing significantly in saving nature. By participating in a plantation, people are contributing their bit to climate change initiatives and saving the environment."
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Re: Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

Postby Spiritwind » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:32 pm

THE BRAZILIAN PHOTOGRAPHER AND THE 20-YEAR REFORESTATION PROJECT OF OVER 2.7 MILLION TREES

https://www.brightvibes.com/1083/en/the ... lion-trees?

THE PROJECT SERVES AS A BEACON TO AWAKEN AWARENESS OF THE NEED TO RESTORE AND CONSERVE FOREST LAND

This project is the result of an ambitious initiative taken in the late 1990s by renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado. Confronting environmental devastation in and around a former cattle ranch bought from Salgado’s family near the town of Aimorés, in Brazil’s state of Minas Gerais, they decided to return the property to its natural state of subtropical rainforest. The ongoing results are truly amazing.

THE DREAM OF PLANTING A FOREST IN BRAZIL GAVE BIRTH TO THE INSTITUTO TERRA

When celebrated Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado took over family land in the state of Minas Gerais, instead of the tropical paradise that he remembered as a child, he found the trees cut down and the wildlife gone. 

He was devastated. It was 1994 and he had just returned from a traumatic assignment reporting on the genocide in Rwanda.

“The land was as sick as I was – everything was destroyed,”  Salgado told The Guardian. “Only about 0.5% of the land was covered in trees.”

Salgado’s wife, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado, had the idea to replant the forest. When they began to do that, all the insects and birds and fish began to return.

Salgado and his family recruited partners, raised funds and, in April 1998, they founded the Instituto Terra and have now planted more than 2 million trees, totally transforming the environment. 

In doing so, Salgado says he has found one answer to climate change – as well as creative inspiration.

“Perhaps we have a solution. There is a single being which can transform CO2 to oxygen, which is the tree. We need to replant the forest. You need forest with native trees, and you need to gather the seeds in the same region you plant them or the serpents and the termites won’t come. And if you plant forests that don’t belong, the animals don’t come there and the forest is silent.

“We need to listen to the words of the people on the land. Nature is the earth and it is other beings and if we don’t have some kind of spiritual return to our planet, I fear that we will be compromised.”
Source: InstitutoTerra

The Instituto Terra committed itself to the recovery of the 1,502 acres of rainforest in the Bulcão Farm in Aimorés, Minas Gerais The farm was completely devastated when, in 1998, it received the title of Private Natural Heritage Reserve (PNHR). The former cattle ranch originally covered 1,740 acres. The first planting was carried out in December 1999, and since then, year after year, with the support of important associates, it has been possible to plant over two million seedlings of more than 290 species of trees, recreating a forest of arboreal and shrub species native to the Atlantic Forest. Source: Institutoterra.org

A BEACON TO AWAKEN ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS OF THE NEED TO RESTORE AND CONSERVE FOREST LAND

From the moment they founded the Instituto Terra, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado, saw the institute as serving as a beacon to awaken environmental awareness of the need to restore and conserve forest land. 

Recognising education and research as key components of this strategy, on February 19, 2002, the Instituto Terra created the Center for Environmental Education and Restoration (CERA). 

Its mission is to contribute to the process of environmental restoration and to the sustainable development of the Atlantic Forest, with special emphasis on the Basin of the River Doce. 

Through CERA, new technologies are shared, throwing fresh light on existing models of development. The ultimate aim is to engage new participants in the battle to achieve sustainable development. 

By December 2012, over 700 educational projects had been developed, embracing 65,000 people in more than 170 municipalities of the Valley of the River Doce, covering both the states of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais. Some projects have reached as far as the states of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.
Source: InstitutoTerra.org

Fauna are returning: many species that were disappearing now find a secure home in Balcão Farm Among birds, 172 species have been identified, of which six are in danger of extinction. There are 33 species of mammals, two of which are in the process of world-wide extinction (classified as ‘vulnerable’). There are also 15 species of amphibians; 15 species of reptiles; and 293 species of plants. Source: Institutoterra.org

NATIVE SPECIES OF TREES WERE CHOSEN WITH THE AIM OF CREATING A FOREST OF HIGH BIOMASS AND DIVERSITY

The Instituto Terra committed itself to the recovery of the 1,502 acres of rainforest in the Bulcão Farm in Aimorés, Minas Gerais. The farm was completely devastated when, in 1998, it received the title of Private Natural Heritage Reserve (PNHR). The former cattle ranch originally covered 1,740 acres. 

The first planting was carried out in December 1999, and since then, year after year, with the support of associates, it has been possible to plant over two million seedlings of more than 290 species of trees, recreating a forest of arboreal and shrub species native to the Atlantic Forest.

At present, just 10% of the PNHR remains to be restored. And the process continues, with the goal of increasing the numbers of native Atlantic Forest species and genomes in the region.

By halting erosion of the soil, the replanting the ground cover at the PNHR Bulcão Farm is fostering a revival of the farm’s water resources - both in quantity and quality. 

The eight natural springs on the farm have been come alive and, even in times of drought, they now flow at a rate of some 20 litres (5.3 gals) per minute.
Native species of trees planted in an area that was completely degraded have been chosen with the aim of creating a forest of high biomass and diversity.

Fauna are returning: many species that were disappearing now find a secure home in Balcão Farm.

* Among birds, 172 species have been identified, of which six are in danger of extinction
* There are 33 species of mammals, two of which are in the process of world-wide extinction (classified as ‘vulnerable’)
* There are also 15 species of amphibians; 15 species of reptiles; and 293 species of plants.

Source: InstitutoTerra.org

Salgado’s wife Léila had the idea to replant the forest From the moment they founded the Instituto Terra, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado, saw the institute as serving as a beacon to awaken environmental awareness of the need to restore and conserve forest land. Source: Institutoterra.org

ABOUT SEBASTIÃO SALGADO

For the last 45 years, award-winning Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado has been travelling the continents in the footsteps of an ever changing humanity. He has witnessed and recorded the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvations and exodus.

Salgado has travelled to over 120 countries for his photographic projects. Most of these have appeared in numerous press publications and books. Touring exhibitions of this work have been presented throughout the world.
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Re: Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

Postby Spiritwind » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:00 pm

Another inspiring story about what one person can do, even though she’s not exactly planting trees.

India’s ‘Seed Mother’ Single-Handedly Preserved 122+ Native Crop Varieties; Film On Her Life Wins Cannes Award

https://effortsforgood.org/get-inspired ... WGpHxf5K24

A short film by Indian filmmaker Achyutanand Dwivedi was awarded at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, 2019. The three-minute film, titled ‘Seed Mother’ won the third prize at the Nespresso Talents 2019 for its brilliant portrayal of an unsung hero of India – ‘Seed Mother’,Rahibai Soma Popere.

Recognised as ‘Seed Mother’ by India, and now the world, Rahibai is a 55-year-old tribal woman farmer hailing from Kombhalne village in Maharashtra. Over the course of the past few decades, she has single-handedly managed to conserve hundreds of native varieties of crops which would otherwise have faced the cruel crux of extinction. Last year, Rahibai was featured in the coveted list of 100 Women 2018 by BBC, where only three Indian women had found place. 

‘Seed Mother’, Rahibai has preserved 122 native seed varieties

To involve more women in her noble mission, Rahibai has founded the Kalsubai Parisar Biyanee Samvardhan Samiti – a women’s self-help group in Kombhalne exclusively devoted to urge farmers to preserve native seeds and do away with hybrid varieties as much as possible.

At Rahibai’s backyard, a frail wooden door reads – “Biyane Bank Kombhalne” (Seed Bank Kombhalne). Inside the quaint mud cabin lies a treasure trove of the rarest of rare seeds native to Maharashtra – ranging from grains to vegetables, herbs to fruits. A staunch opposer of chemical farming, Rahibai has saved over 60 indigenous vegetables, 15 varieties of paddy, 9 varieties of peas and oilseeds among others. At her seed bank, one can find up to 122 varieties of 32 different crops, states a report by Homegrown. She conserves all these seeds in completely primitive methods, without resorting to any modern chemical preservatives. In fact, this is how director Achyutanand Dwivedi came in touch with this incredible woman while searching for some rare native seed varieties for his sustainable kitchen garden, reports Indian Express.

A single-handed effort with no prior experience or knowledge
In her youth, Rahibai used to work as a labourer most months of the year. Like most families in drought-ridden rural Maharashtra, her family also practised agriculture only during the short span of monsoon and migrated to nearby suburbs and villages to work as labourers in sugar factories. In their meagre landholding of three acres, his family used to grow native crops using all natural and organic means.

Through her sole efforts, Rahibai turned two acres of wasteland in her present village into a productive farm, by creating traditional water harvesting system like a jalkund there. She organically cultivated vegetables throughout the year in her farm until the Maharashtra Institute of Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (MITTRA) stepped in to support her. With their help, she established a nursery for preserving native crops and also started rearing poultry at her home. The most astonishing part must be that Rahibai had no training or knowledge about seed preservation and she has achieved everything through her personal experience.

She is strictly against hybrid seeds and chemical cultivation

“Villagers were falling sick frequently after eating food prepared from hybrid crops,” she shared the details in an interview with VillageSquare. It caught Rahibai’s attention how the deficit of nutrients is increasing among the village children and how the general immunity of the villagers has degraded since the advent of hybrid seeds and chemical fertilisers or pesticides. She also observed how hybrid crops require a lot more water than indigenous varieties, which added on to the water scarcity in these drought-prone regions.
Rahibai could remember the healthier, tastier and more nutritious rice or vegetables on her plate during her childhood. Her palate and her conscience could never get acquainted with the hybrid varieties, which in her opinion, were the root cause of all health disorders.

Inspiring farmers and enriching agro-science

So Rahibai travelled across the state of Maharashtra, collecting local seeds from here and there. She also spoke to the village inhabitants everywhere and explained to them the importance and benefits of growing native seeds.
In her own courtyard and farm, she has planted nearly 500 native plants, shows a documentary by BBC. Her prized collection of an unbelievable range of hyacinth beans has not only drawn admiration from all over but has also earned her a place in science, as some of these seeds are now being studied for their unknown genetic properties. Inspired by her, local farmers are also adopting the cultivation of native seeds from her seed bank, rather than procuring expensive hybrid seeds with loans. Her village has also acquired the traditional habit of consuming wild vegetables (Ranbhaji) which grow during the monsoon.

A Good Samaritan in more ways than one

Rahibai wishes to take the count of seeds preserved by her to 250 and bring more than 25,000 families within the ambit organic and native crop farming. When not toiling in her garden or seed bank, she will often be found organising health camps in adjoining villages and also distributing solar-powered lamps.
Efforts For Good salutes the amazing endeavour of Rahibai and wishes more farmers of India follow her footsteps.
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Re: Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

Postby Spiritwind » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:12 pm

Planting Billions of Trees Is the 'Best Climate Change Solution Available Today,' Study Finds

https://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change ... fUAsFPk-5I

Planting more than 500 billion trees could remove around 25 percent of existing carbon from the atmosphere, a new study has found. What's more: there's enough space to do it.

The study, published in Science Friday, set out to assess how much new forest the earth could support without encroaching on farmland or urban areas and came up with a figure of 0.9 billion hectares, an area roughly the size of the U.S., BBC News reported. That makes reforestation "the most effective solution" for mitigating the climate crisis, the researchers concluded.

"Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today and it provides hard evidence to justify investment," senior study author and ETH-Zürich Professor Tom Crowther said, as BBC News reported. "If we act now, this could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25 percent, to levels last seen almost a century ago."

The new trees would remove around 200 gigatonnes of carbon, or two thirds of what humans have pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

However, the researchers emphasized that tree planting was not a replacement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions or phasing out the use of fossil fuels.
"None of this works without emissions cuts," Crowther told Time.

Even if tree planting began today, it would take 50 to 100 years for the new trees to soak up those 200 gigatonnes of carbon, he told The Guardian. And, as National Geographic pointed out, the researchers found that potential tree-planting land could shrink by one-fifth by 2050 even if global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as some tropical areas could grow too hot to support forests.

Even so, Crowther said tree planting was an important means of immediate climate action.

It's "a climate change solution that doesn't require President Trump to immediately start believing in climate change, or scientists to come up with technological solutions to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere," Crowther told The Guardian. "It is available now, it is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved."

Assistant-Director General at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization René Castro praised the study's utility.

"We now have definitive evidence of the potential land area for re-growing forests, where they could exist and how much carbon they could store," Castro said, as The Guardian reported.

To reach their conclusions, the researchers first looked at around 80,000 satellite photographs of protected forest areas around the world to assess the tree cover in each. They then used Google Earth Engine mapping software to develop a model for predicting where new trees could grow, National Geographic explained. They found that more than half of the world's reforestation potential was located in six countries: China, the U.S., Russia, Australia, Canada and Brazil.

However, trends are moving in the opposite direction in Brazil, where deforestation is on the rise under the right-wing government of President Jair Bolsonaro. Recent satellite images show that a football-field-sized swath of the Amazon is being lost every minute, according to National Geographic.

Bolsonaro has also been hostile to the rights of indigenous communities to the forest. But such rights are essential for conservation: deforestation rates are much lower in forests that recognize indigenous claims.

"We have served as guardians of these lands for generations ... We also understand how to restore them to health," Joan Carling, a member of the Kankanaey tribe in the Philippines and co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development, told National Geographic by email. "With the security of our lands and resources, we can prevent destructive logging, mining, agri-business, and other projects from occurring in our territories."

Political realities are why some scientists criticized the optimism of Crowther's findings.

"Planting trees to soak up two-thirds of the entire anthropogenic carbon burden to date sounds too good to be true. Probably because it is," University of Reading professor Martin Lukac told BBC News. "This far, humans have enhanced forest cover on a large scale only by shrinking their population size (Russia), increasing productivity of industrial agriculture (the West) or by direct order of an autocratic government (China). None of these activities look remotely feasible or sustainable at global scale."

University College London professor Simon Lewis, meanwhile, said that the amount of carbon the study said trees would absorb was too high. He said the study had not accounted for the carbon already in the soil before trees were planted or the hundreds of years it would take for the trees to achieve their full storage potential, The Guardian reported.
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Re: Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

Postby Spiritwind » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:16 pm

And...here’s another one.


Even at 105, Saalumarada Thimmakka, one of BBC’s 100 most influential women, continues her mission to plant as many trees as possible

https://www.theweek.in/webworld/feature ... NWk-vxTefw

When she was about 40, Saalumarada Thimmakka—heartbroken after being repeatedly called barren—jumped into the village pond to end her life. But, as fate would have it, she held on to a plant and survived. Almost 65 years later, the green crusader beams with pride every time people address her as Vruksha Maathe (mother of trees). “Saalumara”, which means a row of trees in Kannada, was prefixed to her name after she planted about 400 banyan trees in Hulikal village, and thousands more elsewhere in Karnataka.

In 1948, Thimmakka, with her husband, Bikkaluchikkaiah, started planting saplings to overcome the pain of being childless. Today, as you drive about 35km from Bengaluru city (towards Kunigal) and enter the Kudur panchayat, a soothing breeze whistles through the thick canopy of their trees.

“Hulikal had only a mud road, and people used to walk or ride a bullock cart to go to the nearest market,” recalls Thimmakka. “In the morning, we tarred the road for daily wages and spent afternoons digging the pits, planting saplings, fencing and watering them. We added 10 to 15 trees each year. I used to fetch water from faraway wells and ponds.”

She laughs at my scepticism about her age—105. “I have no (birth) certificate. But I got married in 1928, at the age of 20, and was childless for 20 years,” she says. “That is when we started planting trees. My oldest tree is 65 years.”

Her old fingers continue to plant thousands of saplings at schools, colleges and public events. Her failing health, however, has forced her to leave her one-room house in Hulikal and live in a rented home in Bengaluru with her adopted son, Umesh, 29, who runs an NGO in her name. He is a recipient of the Karnataka state environment award. “He was 15 when he came to meet me from Hassan,” she says. “Eventually, I adopted him. He runs a nursery, though he has a bachelor of education degree. Our relationship has grown over the years. This boy is my God and I am his God. I am busy looking for a bride for him.”
It was in 1948, after 20 years of marriage and several attempts at adoption, that Thimmakka and her husband embraced trees. They moved away from quarrelling in-laws and focused on their mission.

In 1958, two village headmen, who were on their way to the Sugganahalli cattle fair, spotted the couple watering the trees. They felicitated the couple with a silver medal at the fair, which is a prized possession to date.

In 1991, after 63 years of companionship, Bikkaluchikkaiah died. Ironically, he was jailed for cutting a dry branch of a tree he had planted, which led to a deterioration in his health, and ultimately death. Thimmakka was left with a dilapidated hut. Unable to bear the harassment of her husband’s relatives—who tried to usurp her land—she sold her four acres for Rs 70,000. That year, rains washed away her home, too. However, with help from a well-wisher, she rebuilt the mud house and applied for a widow pension of Rs 75 (now Rs 500).
In 1994, her life took an interesting turn. Veteran Congress leader Shamanuru Shivashankarappa was travelling through Hulikal in his car; the afternoon sun had exhausted him. Suddenly, he felt a cool breeze and stopped to see the trees. He then went looking for the “old lady” who had planted them. “He appreciated us and gave me Rs 5,000,” recalls Thimmakka. “For a moment I thought I was dreaming. He mentioned our efforts in his public speech at Ramanagara. Soon, the media and the people started coming to my village to meet me.” Since that day, though she was illiterate, Thimmakka started collecting heaps of fan mail and media reports.

An article published in an English daily drew the attention of Sachidanandaswamy, a Rajya Sabha member, who in turn referred Thimmakka’s name to Justice P.N. Bhagwati, who was heading the selection committee for the National Citizen’s Award. On December 23, 1996, Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda gave Thimmakka the award.

“On returning home, she realised that the man who had escorted her to Delhi and dropped her home had handed over only the medal, memento and the certificate, and not the cash award,” writes Indiramma Belur, her biographer. “Two years later, when a newspaper carried the report, the local police summoned her and tried to comfort her with words.”

When Belur approached her for the biography (Saalumarada Saradaarini, published in 2015), Thimmakka agreed, on condition that the book should not read like a film script but remain truthful to her life.

After the national award, there was a steady stream of awards and accolades. Recently, BBC picked her for the Top 100 most influential and inspiring women in 2016. Another high point in her life was when Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced funds for the ‘Saalumarada Thimmakka Shade Plan’ in 2014-15 and again in 2015-16, as part of the mission to plant trees along roadsides.

Thought the list of achievements is long, Thimmakka is still not done. But, at 105, she must surely be tired? “I have been a hard worker. I eat only ragi mudde [ragi balls] and a special gravy made of a ground mixture of red chillies, pepper, cumin seeds, coconut, tamarind and salt,” she says. “Occasionally, I feast on goat meat and chicken. But I can no longer digest them all.”

Over the years, her trips to Hulikal have also become less frequent, although people still invite her to settle disputes. “I visit my village every year as the Hulikal house has earned me a lot of goodwill and fame,” she says. This time, her stopover at Hulikal makes her sad as she looks at a dry expanse of land. “This was our land, which I sold,” she says. “I am now surviving on widow pension and goodwill of people. I have got awards but have always struggled for a living.”

She walks towards her trees, runs her hands on the trunk and asks: “Why are they felling so many trees in the cities? A good tree is one that provides fruits and seeds to birds, gives clean air and shade to people. But, where are such trees today?”
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Re: Planting trees, one of the most powerful things you can do to be part of the solution.

Postby Spiritwind » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:56 pm

So, this has just come to my attention. Something that sounds so good ends up not being a good thing after all. Planting trees is good, but gene edited trees, probably not so much. Just like GMO corn, wheat, and other crops, as well as spraying glyphosate to ripen (kill them) to improve harvests that was sold to farmers and the public by Monsanto, it almost certainly is NOT a good thing. Big sigh, how discouraging. I felt compelled to share that what I thought was a good idea has been inverted like so much else in our world today, even though it depresses the hell out of me. How many people, like myself, have been cheering the idea of planting large numbers of trees thinking it was a good thing, and have no idea that once again we have been sold a shit cake with pretty frosting. Once again, they are using good people who actually want to be part of doing something to help our environment to do their dirty work. Do I sound kinda mad?

1. Scientists call for gene-edited trees in certified forests

https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/ ... d-forests/?


2. CRISPR gene editing used to genetically modify trees to protect their health

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015 ... ir-health/?


3. Ethiopia ‘Breaks World Record’ by Planting 350 Million Trees in 12 Hours

https://themindunleashed.com/2019/07/et ... trees.html?

The national tree-planting initiative aims to grow 4 billion trees throughout the country this summer.

Around 350 million trees have been planted in a single day in Ethiopia, according to officials, in what could possibly be a new world record.

The tree-planting campaign, which is a part of a national initiative meant to grow 4 billion trees throughout the country this summer, aims to prevent further deforestation and climate change in a country that is prone to drought.

Every citizen has been encouraged to plant at least 40 seedlings, with public offices even facing days off so that civil servants can take part, the Guardian reports.

News that the 350 million trees were planted in 12 hours came via a tweet by Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria, who trumpeted the news:

ETHIOPIA PLANTED
353,633,660 TREE SEEDLINGS IN 12Hours‪#GreenLegacyEthiopia#PMOEthiopia‬

If proven, the achievement is truly record-breaking, shattering the current world record for planting trees in a single day, which stands at 50 million trees planted in India in 2016.

State-run media have urged members of the public to devote their efforts to planting and caring for the indigenous trees, with staff from foreign embassies in Ethiopia as well as international and regional organizations such as the United Nations and African Union taking part in the project.

The exercise, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and dubbed the Green Legacy Initiative, is taking place across the country in 1,000 different locations, according to BBC.

Critics of the prime minister claim that the campaign is a cynical exercise aiming to distract Ethiopians from domestic troubles, including internecine warfare and strife between ethnic groups that has driven around 2.5 million people from their homes.

However, such conflicts are also rooted in the degraded agricultural conditions in the region, where lush vegetation and greenery has faded and made way for barren land due to decades of poor land-use policies and general underdevelopment.

The United Nations says that since the early 1900s, Ethiopia’s forest coverage has precipitously declined from 35 percent of total land to barely 4 percent in the 2000s.

Bekele Benti, a bus driver in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, told Xinhua:

“As a bus driver, with frequent trips across the country, I have witnessed the extent of deforestation in different parts of Ethiopia.

It’s really frustrating to see forest-covered areas turned to be bare lands within a few years.

This is a great opportunity for me and fellow Ethiopians to contribute to our country’s better future towards a green and environmentally well-positioned Ethiopia.” 

Officials hope that the tree-planting initiative can improve the living conditions of local populations, rebuild agricultural plots and rural economies, and ensure climate stability for future generations.

The initiative will also open doors to broader progress toward social development, allowing Ethiopians to remain at home rather than be forced out by the desperation that drives migration from impoverished regions in Africa.

The World Food Programme believes that the initiative is “critical for Ethiopia which had lost billions of trees and forest resources over the years.”

Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University, told the Guardian:

“Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply.
This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”

Ethiopia joins other groups in their recent tree planting efforts. As the Mind Unleashed previously reported, a Sikh initiative called The Million Tree Project aims to plant one million new trees throughout the world, with tens of thousands already having been planted.

According to a new study published in the journal Science, these initiatives have the potentially to be an effective means of reversing climate change. As previously reported by the Mind Unleashed, planting about a billion trees across the globe could remove two-thirds of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide—approximately 25 percent of the CO2 in the atmosphere—creating a vast natural means to trap and store the emissions in an affordable and politically non-controversial manner.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com
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