Farm Africa is an organization that is working on reforestation efforts in East Africa and helping farmers escape from poverty. According to their statistics, only less than 4% of Ethiopia’s land is forested. This is a very alarming number considering that at the end of the 19th century, the country still had 30% of forested areas.
As an effort to combat this pressing environmental issue, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheaded a wide reforestation campaign in the country named “Green Legacy”.
He invited millions of citizens in Ethiopia to take on the challenge and within the first six hours, Ahmed tweeted that around 150 million trees had already been planted. Then, after twelve hours, this amount increased to more than 353 million seedlings planted!
This incredible feat is believed by officials to be a world record.
“We’re halfway to our goal,” Ahmed said as he encouraged Ethiopians to “build on the momentum in the remaining hours.”
The Prime Minister took to Twitter again to announce that after twelve hours, not only has Ethiopia met its “collective #GreenLegacy goal,” but surpassed it by a large scale.
Getahun Mekuria, the country’s minister for innovation and technology, tweeted a chart showing that a total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted.
Although Ethiopia has already accomplished an amazing environmental achievement, the country has set a goal for this season that is even much bigger than that. The nationwide tree-planting campaign’s objective is to plant 4 billion trees between May and October – during the rainy season – according to a tweet from Ahmed last May.
Aside from the issue of deforestation, Ethiopia is also experiencing land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and reoccurring droughts and flooding worsened by agriculture. 80% of the country’s population depends on agriculture as a livelihood.
Ethiopia has been very active in its reforestation efforts during the past years. In 2017, the country joined more than 20 other African nations in pledging to recover 100 million hectares of land as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.
According to a recent study, restoring the world’s lost forests could remove 67% of all the carbon responsible for warming the planet from our atmosphere.
This study performed by researchers at Swiss university ETH Zurich estimated that reviving degraded forests all over the world could capture about 205 billion tons of carbon in total. It is calculated that around 10 billions tons of carbon are emitted globally per year.
Kudos to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for spearheading this project and to the millions of Ethiopians who, within 12 hours, has already made our planet better and more livable!