India Just Planted 66 Million Trees In 12 Hours

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India Just Planted 66 Million Trees In 12 Hours
image © McKay Savage – Wikipedia – lic. under CC BY 2.0

Nations such as India are stepping up their actions to stress their commitment to the Paris climate deal. The South Asian nation plans to spend $6 billion reforesting 12% of its land under the agreement. The country’’s latest project was conducted last July 2, 2017, when 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million animal sheltering, carbon-scrubbing trees.

Situated along the Narmada River in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, the project involved young and old volunteers who gathered to plant more than 20 species of saplings. A similar project was organized a year before, that saw the planting of 50 million trees.

Thirty-one percent of the planet’s land mass is covered by forests which provide food, fresh water, clothing, medicine, and shelter to 1.6 billion people. Forests are also home to many of the world’s most endangered and threatened animals.

Due to continued deforestation, some 46,000-58,000 square miles of forests are lost annually. The planet loses 8 football fields of forests every minute to fires, clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching, logging for timber and commercial development.

India’’s feat would not be possible without the commitment of the Madhya Pradesh government and the help of the districts along the Narmada River. The men, women, children, and elderly that participated in the project sowed saplings from 7 am to 7 pm.

This effort is part of India’s goal to reforest 235 million acres of the country by 2030. The Paris Agreement also drove India’’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commit 40% of the country’’s electricity capacity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Ranked third in the world (behind China and the U.S.) in terms of carbon dioxide emission, India has implemented steps to curb coal use for natural gas and renewable energy sources. The Paris agreement and the drop in renewable energy prices forced India to rethink its electricity generation strategy. A report published by the World Economic Forum found that the price of solar and wind electricity generation is now equal to or cheaper than fossil fuel based electricity.

According to Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state chief minister for the Madhya Pradesh region, the tree plantation will not only save Narmada but also the planet. Chouhan stressed the need to spare something for upcoming generations.

The tree plantation initiative is one of India’’s strategies to change its reputation as a smog and pollution fuelled country. Its capital, Delhi, holds the record for the worst air quality in the world. Modi’’s government wants to make India green again by investing millions into environmentalism and green energy at a local and national level.

Other nations have also taken steps to reduce deforestation and climate change. Australia shared its plan to use drones to plant one billion trees every year. Africa is doubling its efforts to restore 31.7 million hectares of land as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.

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