On the day that the inhabitants reached the earliest Earth Overshoot Day ever, and within a week of the Brazilian government's data showing that the rate of clearance of the Amazonian rainforest has accelerated to three football pitches a day, Ethiopia has shown that there is some hope by reportedly planting 353 million trees in one day.
There may well be sceptics who question the accuracy of that number, but even if a third of those trees was actually planted, it is still more than double the previous record.
Of particular note is the appreciation of the wider impact of trees: trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but also contribute to the combating desertification and land degradation, and provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply.
A low-tech, reliable and sustainable way to deal with many of the challenges of our time.
“This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”