More than 353 million trees have been planted in a single day by millions of people throughout Ethiopia in a campaign to ‘reforest’ the region.

Spearheaded by prime minister Abiy Ahmed, this effort may have broken a world record by organizing the planting of 150 million trees in 6 hours, with more than 350 million planted in 12 hours – that is a serious number.

Citizens of Africa’s second most populated country were urged to support the initiative, with hopes of beating India’s record of 66 million trees being planted in 12 hours by roughly 1.5 million volunteers.

Planning to continue in the rainy season of May-October, they aren’t stopping there, aiming on a total of 4 billion trees being planted this year.

With Ethiopia suffering from droughts and deforestation, forest coverage has fallen from 35% in the early 20th century to a sad 4% in the 2000’s.

Another factor to consider is that roughly 80% of the population rely on farming and agriculture to sustain their livelihoods, but due to soil erosion and droughts, this has been in severe decline.

Reforestation has been proven to be the most effective and cheapest methods to combat climate change according to recent studies, with scientists suggesting that the effects of reforestation on the Earth is ‘mind-blowing’.

Two thirds of carbon emissions could be removed if we come together, enforcing a worldwide tree-planting programme, with more than 20 other African countries already pledging to restore 100 million hectares of land, in a massive campaign called the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.

Over 1,000 sites were included in the drive, with officials being assigned to tally how many seedlings were planted by volunteers. It was not long before Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, Getahun Mekuria released a tweet announcing that over 350 million trees had been planted in 12 hours.

Citizens have been encouraged to plant at least 40 seedlings this summer each.

Not everyone is on-board though…

Some are making accusations that the prime minister is using the efforts of the campaign detract from real time problems the country is suffering from such as recent conflicts seeing 2 million people being evicted from their homes and activists clashing with security forces in the Sidama region.

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