In a phenomenal effort to show to stand by their recent commitment at the Paris Climate Change Conference, over 1.5 million volunteers took part in a 12-hour event planting tree saplings along the Narmada River in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
While it has yet to be verified by the Guinness World Records, the group planted a total of 6.63 crores (a crore denotes ten million units) of saplings smashing its previous record of 49.3 million trees in 2016. Prior to the July 2016 record, the record for trees planted had been set by Pakistan, planting 847,275 trees in 2013.
India had set their sites high with a pledge made during the Paris Climate Change Conference, committing to cover over 95 million hectares, 12% of its land, in trees by 2030 in an attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change within their borders. Committing over $6 billion to their efforts, the country has put its best foot forward.
State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the new record via Twitter on July 2nd, stating:
“#MPPlants6CroreTrees is effort in accordance with #ParisAccord. I am proud that Madhya Pradesh has been one of the first to initiate.”
— CMO Madhya Pradesh (@CMMadhyaPradesh) July 2, 2017
These landmark efforts have been the start of a dramatic change for the country, previously tarnished with a negative reputation when discussing the topics of environmental protection and climate change. The country has become known for its association with coal burning, lack of sewage treatment options, poor inner-city air quality and burning of biomass fuel.
India isn’t the only country taking big steps forward in the worldwide battle against climate change. The deforestation and forest degradation responsible for up to 17% of the world’s carbon emissions according to the United Nations, the pressure is on for countries across the planet to do their part.
By the end of 2016, 10 African nations have stepped up to the challenge, pledging to restore 31.7 million hectares of land, all as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative.
Australia has also sent their troops into battle, not about to be outdone. A team of engineers, working under the guidance of Dr. Susan Graham, have developed a drone system that has the ability to scan the land, identify the optimal places to grow trees and then fire germinated seeds into the soil in these locations. They plan on using this system to plant 1 billion trees every year.