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Ethiopia breaks tree-planting record with 350 million

GROWTH: Ethiopia's Green Legacy Initiative aims to combat deforestation and climate change

IN A bid to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a tree-planting exercise as part of his Green Legacy Initiative, which is taking place in 1,000 sites across the country and aims to plant four billion trees by the end of October.

On Monday (Jul 29) and in the space of 12 hours, 350 million trees were planted, and according to reports, 2.6 billion new trees – more than half of the target – are already in the ground.

The former world record for planting trees in a single day was held by India, which used 800,000 volunteers to plant more than 50 million trees in 2016.

AFFECTED

The UN discovered Ethiopia's forest coverage declined from 35% of total land in the early 20th century to a little above 4% in the 2000s.

WWF research shows deforestation is responsible for more than 15% of global greenhouse gases.
The effects of climate change have hit Ethiopia’s agriculture hard. Over-farming has caused land degradation and soil erosion, while warming temperatures leave farmers facing a constant threat of extreme weather events such as droughts and flooding.

In light of this, promotional videos have been spread across social media to urge the public to get involved with the initiative.

Whilst some argue Mr Abiy is using the campaign to distract the public from the challenges his government is facing, including ethnic conflicts which have forced some 2.5 million people from their homes, many have been getting involved with the initiative and some public offices have shut down to allow civil servants to volunteer and take part.

Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Annie Mohammed tweeted: “If every country can break records for planting trees like #Ethiopia — we can counter the effects of deforestation and climate change.

“Every one of our actions, big and small, count for people and for planet. #GreenLegacy #ClimateAction #GlobalGoals”.

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