Ethiopia may be falling behind in many aspects of life, but it has done much more than most countries in the world when it comes to solving the problem with deforestation.
Trees play an important role in this world. They give us oxygen and fresh air. Trees preserve the soil, “fix” our climate, and give home to billions of animals.
Sadly, most of the forests in this world are under a threat, because some people believe that we need industrial zones more than we need fresh air.
The entire world has stayed mum on the topic, and Ethiopians planted about 350 million trees in a day. Is this the new world record?
The planting was part of the national initiative to plant 4 billion trees in the rainy season as they like to call it. It starts in May and ends in October.
Volunteers took the seedlings and officials counted them. Yes, public offices had days off to take part in the process. Each citizen was set to plant about 40 seedlings. State-run media supported the event, and citizens were taught how to plant and care for their trees. Employees from foreign embassies helped Ethiopians, and the event was also supported by international and regional organizations.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led The Green Legacy Initiative, and his group covered 1,000 locations across the country.
Do you know that in just 12 hours they planted 350 million trees? Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria was the first to share the news via Twitter.
— Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (@DrGetahun) July 29, 2019
In 2016, people in India planted 50 million trees. The Ethiopian Prime Minister first planned to plant 200 million trees in a day at 1,000 sites and they did much better than that.
UN reported that since the early 1900s, the forests coverage in Ethiopia saw a decline from 35% to just 4%.
Forests play an important role in Ethiopia, and citizens depend on trees. Ethiopia is also affected by climate crisis, soil erosion, deforestation, land degradation, recurrent droughts, and flooding.
“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,” Bekele Benti, a bus driver in the country’s capital Addis Ababa said.
“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.”
The World Food Programme says the initiative is “critical for Ethiopia which had lost billions of trees and forest resources over the years.”
#GreenLegacy is to deliver #GreenEthiopia for generations to come.Let’s also #PlantOurPrint for a #CivilizedCitizenLegacy by planting Positivity,Love,Unity,Patriotism, Genuineness,Hard working, Wisdom,Integrity…to pass #AdvancedEthiopia 🚀💡🔭for generations.#InfluenceEthiopia pic.twitter.com/ugn9kOl4wX
— Minota Matewos (@minotamatewos) July 29, 2019
“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,” Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University, said.
“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.”
This is an important step forward, and researchers at the Swiss university ETH Zurich say that restoring the forests we have lost will remove two-thirds of the carbon in our atmosphere.
Hopefully, other countries will follow this example. Ethiopia did a good job. What will you do to protect our planet?