Trees are the lungs of our planet. We have known this for ages, but sadly, this knowledge alone has not been enough to keep deforestation at bay. Clear-cutting forests to make room for the livestock industry, palm oil production, and countless other uses, has left us in a huge predicament today as it is currently estimated that if we carry on business as usual cutting down trees, the world’s rainforests will disappear in the next 100 years. Considering trees play a vital role in, you know, producing the oxygen we breathe, in addition to harboring thousands of plant and animal species, and moderating our global climate, this loss would literally change life as we know it.

Thankfully, in the face of rampant deforestation and development, many people are stepping up to protect existing forests and making efforts to reforest damaged ecosystems. Most recently, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh set out to plant 50 million trees in just 24 hours! 

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Their goal was to make it into Guinness World Records by beating the current record of 847, 275 set by Pakistan in 2013. According to reports, over 800,000 people set out Monday, July 11, 2016 to plant millions of saplings, distributed by the local government, across designated spots along country roads and highways, rail tracks, and forest lands.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav hoped that planting 50 million trees would spread awareness and enthusiasm about reforesting and environmental conservation in the region. Yadav addressed volunteers stating, “The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard.”

India pledged to increase forest cover by 235 million acres by 2030 during the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, and the government has dedicated more than $6.2 billion for effort. This epic effort is part of this noble goal and while official news of whether the state was successful at shattering the record is not yet available, there is no doubt that this effort helped the country inch closer to their larger reforestation goals.

India’s government is encouraging all 29 states to start tree-planting drives to increase the country’s forest cover. We could all stand to follow India’s example and take action to restore the vital forests in our own countries – every forest starts with one tree, after all. Share this post and encourage others to get involved with local reforestation efforts!

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