By Salena Fourie
Last week at the Gulele Botanical Garden in Ethiopia over 350 million trees were planted in 12 hours to restore the country's deforestation and fight climate change. Ethiopia broke the world record for the most trees planted, exceeding the 50 million trees planted by India in 2016.
The ongoing event is part of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Green Legacy initiative, which was introduced in May. This initiative aims to plant four billion trees across Ethiopia by October. According to UN Environment, Ahmed congratulated the country for not only meeting its Green Legacy goal being initially 20 million, but exceeding it.
Ethiopians worked together to fulfill this goal, as some schools and government offices were closed for the occasion. According to an article in Aljazeera – an Ethiopian news agency - the Prime Minister told fellow Ethiopians to "go out and make your mark", while joining in on the process himself by planting his own tree in the southern city of Arba Minch.
Despite Ethiopia´s groundbreaking, environmental record creating great awareness, it is proven to be one of the most effective solutions to our climate crisis. According to a published study in the journal 'Science', it´s said that the most effective way to fight global warming was to plant one trillion trees. Over the decades, the study also states the mass planting of new trees could suck up nearly 750 billion tonnes of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“Afforestation is the most effective climate change solution to date and with the new record set by Ethiopia, other African nations should move with speed and challenge the status quo,” said Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Director of UN Environment’s Africa Office in an article by UN Environment.
While Ethiopia is changing their country´s environmental state with trees on a large scale, South Africa has many small initiatives for planting trees, which could be the start of something equally as record-breaking. According to the South African Institute of Forestry, approximately 360 000 trees are planted every working day, being a total of more than 90 million trees a year.
If interested in tree-planting programmes and initiatives read more about what is offered by the government for a greener South Africa with planting trees under programmes and initiatives.