After 1.5 million volunteers planted over 66 million tree saplings in just 12 hours along the Narmada river, Madhya Pradesh (a central Indian state) set a new Guinness World Record.
The previous record-breaking feat was bested when 800,000 participants planted 50 million trees in just one day back in July of 2016 in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, praised the effort.
“I am extremely proud to happily share that people of Madhya Pradesh successfully planted 6.63 Crore saplings today.”
A “crore” is 10 million.
In a press release of the initiate, the aim of the mass-planting event was to raise awareness for the nation’s “make India green again” plan.
India pledge to increase forest cover to 95 million hectares (235 million acres) by the year 2030 at the Paris climate conference and is putting $6.2 billion towards the effort.
“I am greatly indebted to all who are planting trees today,” Chouhan shared with India.com. “We will be contributing significantly in saving nature. By participating in a plantation, people are contributing their bit to climate change initiatives and saving the environment.”
So why exactly is it so important to plant trees?
They not only help filter water we drink but provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people and more including:
Trees are able to take in harmful pollutants and release clean oxygen for humans to breathe. Healthy and strong trees act as carbon sinks, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide while reducing the effects of climate change.
Trees are also able to capture rainwater as well as reduce the risk of natural disasters such as floods and landslides thanks to their root systems which act like filters — removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the ground.
One tree is able to be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Without trees — forest creatures would not have a home.
Young, Open Forests
Forests like these happen due to fires or logging. Shrubs, grasses as well as young trees draw in animals such as black bears, the American goldfinch, and bluebirds in North America.
Taller trees start to outgrow weaker trees and vegetation in middle-aged forests, while an open canopy allows for the growth of ground vegetation preferred by animals such as salamander, elk, and tree frogs.
With bigger trees, a complex canopy along with a highly developed under story of vegetation provides a habitat for animals like bats, squirrels as well as birds.
Trees not only provide work for loggers and researchers, but sustainable tree farming helps provide timber to build homes and shelter — along with wood to burn for cooking and eating.
It is said that hospital patients with rooms overlooking trees recover faster than those without the same view as trees aid in reducing stress, anxiety — allowing us to reconnect with nature.
Trees help keep the planet cool by taking in and storing harmful greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into their trunks, branches, and leaves, and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. In cities, trees are able to reduce overall temperature by up to eight degrees.
As over 50% of the world’s population resides in cities, a number that is projected to increase by 66% by the year 2050, pollution and overheating pose a real threat.
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