In an effort to combat climate change and rapid deforestation, Ethiopia is making significant strides by planting 350 million trees in only one day.
On July 29, volunteers from across the country, alongside representatives from the United Nations, the African Union, and foreign embassies in Ethiopia, banded together with the goal of sowing 200 million seeds before the day’s end. The Guardian reports public offices and some schools were closed to allow civil servants and children to participate.
The planters far exceeded their goal.
Officials in charge of counting the seedlings confirmed that the volunteers planted 350 million trees in 12 hours, shattering the two previous records in half the time.
In 2013, the Sindh Forest Department set a Guinness World Record when 300 people planted 847,275 trees in a day. Three years later, India crushed that record, planting 49.3 million trees in the same amount of time.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria tweeted the good news.
The eco-initiative was apart of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Green Legacy campaign, which aims to plant a total of 4 billion trees in Ethiopia by the end of the rainy season in October, about 40 seedlings for every person.
The tree-planting program took place at 1,000 sites across the country.
The trees will help improve soil quality and reduce the impact of flooding in the erosion-prone country.
The shrubs help offset climate change’s effects by absorbing carbon dioxide, which contributes to greenhouse gases, from the air.
In July, Science published a study detailing how planting a trillion trees over the next few decades could absorb an estimated 205 billion tons of carbon dioxide from our compromised atmosphere.
Despite Ethiopia’s huge step in the right direction to preserve the land, the work is far from over.
If the trees aren’t properly watered in the coming weeks, they’ll be susceptible to disease and death.
In the east African nation, forest coverage has significantly dropped from approximately 35 percent in the early 1900s to only four 4 percent in the 2000s.