According to UN officials, Ethiopia’s forest coverage declined from 35% of the total land in the early 20th Century to a little above 4% in the 2000s. For that reason, there were many initiatives to improve that condition of the forests, among which the most massive is the one organized this year.
The project of planting trees in Ethiopia, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, achieving a world record. The people in Ethiopia planted more than 350 million trees in a single day, which is a part of a national initiative to grow 4 billion trees throughout the country. This initiative aims to prevent further deforestation and climate change in a country that is prone to drought.
— Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria (@DrGetahun) July 29, 2019
This achievement is truly record-breaking, shattering the current world record, which stands at 50 million trees planted in India in 2016.
The efforts of many actors were dedicated in this project, including state-run media, staffs from foreign embassies in Ethiopia as well as international and regional organizations such as the African Union and United Nations.
According to BBC, so-called the Green Legacy Initiative supported by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took place across the country in 1,000 different locations.
Even though there were many critics of the prime minister, naming that project as a cynical exercise, which was aiming to distract Ethiopians from domestic troubles, the achievement is recognized all around the world and supported by all people who aim to protect the environment. Such conflicts are usual in the degraded agricultural regions, where greenery and lavish vegetation has faded and made way for barren land due to decades of poor land-use policies.
A bus driver from the capital Addis Ababa, Bekele Benti, told Xinhua:
“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.”
For him and almost all fellow Ethiopians, this was a great opportunity to contribute to their country’s better future towards a green and environmentally well-positioned Ethiopia.
#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
Officials hope that this initiative can improve the living conditions of Ethiopians, rebuild rural economies and agricultural plots, and ensure climate stability. It will also open doors to broader progress toward social development, allowing the local populations to remain at home rather than be forced out by the desperation that drives migration.
According to the World Food Programme, this initiative is “critical for Ethiopia which had lost billions of trees and forest resources over the years.”
Additionally, Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University, added to the Guardian that planting and growing the trees will not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they will provide huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation. This is very important in the arid countries, where it can also provide food, fuel, shelter, medicine, fodder, materials and protection of the water supply.
According to Dan, this impressive feat is a part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the people and the trees. He emphasized the forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, taking care of the ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions.
The initiative like this one in Ethiopia is present in many other countries, like a Sikh initiative called The Million Tree Project.
The new study about these initiatives, published in the journal Science, shows that they can be potentially effective in reversing climate change. The Mind Unleashed reported that planting about a billion trees across the globe could remove two-thirds of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.