When it comes to making environmental strides, it can be said the victories come in all sizes. Many individuals choose to make efforts every day, like ditching single-use plastics for more sustainable options like metal water bottles and paper drinking straws. These are small efforts, and while they definitely mean something, they’re not exactly going to catch the collective eye of the rest of the world. But planting 353 million trees in less than a day? That is a big win, and it definitely got the globe’s attention.
Early this month, Ethiopia managed to plant 353 million trees in 12 hours as part of reforestation efforts led by the country’s Prime Minister. Abiy Ahmed led the campaign, called “Green Legacy,” by challenging the citizens of Ethiopia to join him in planting trees. Within the first six hours of the campaign, the people of Ethiopia answered the call by planting 150 million new trees. That very solid start to the campaign would eventually lead to the people of Ethiopia crushing their goal by the end of the 12-hour period.
As it turns out, the remarkable achievement is just the first step in Ethiopia’s incredible goals to introduce 4 billion seedlings before the end of the country’s rainy season. The season lasts from May to October, and it seems that the country will have plenty of opportunities. In fact, studies have shown that only 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested. A little over a hundred years ago as much as a third of the country was forested.
That leaves a lot of opportunity, and not just for the environment. The efforts are also expected to bring some serious dollars to the farmers of Ethiopia, who have experienced severe poverty over the past several decades.
These remarkable efforts impact more than just a single country. Studies suggest that reforesting the world’s lands at the pace that Ethiopia has set could eliminate as much as 60% of the carbon responsible for global warming.
In short, Ethiopia has set a bar that we should all be striving to achieve.