How India managed to plant 66 million trees in a single day and why we should copy them.

One and a half million volunteers planted a record-shattering 66 million trees in India on July 2, 2017.

The campaign took place along the Narmada River in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Volunteers young and old gathered together to plant more than 20 different species of sapling.

This top's India's 2016 record, which saw 50 million trees planted.


It can feel like it's hard to make a difference, but this is an incredible example of what people can accomplish together.

Forests provide food, shelter, and jobs to billions of people around the world. Despite that, we lose more than 45,000 square miles of forest every year to industry, agriculture, and other human activities.

Reforestation can help reverse that trend.

Volunteers planting a tree in Honduras on Earth Day 2012. Photo by Orlando Sierra/AFP/GettyImages.

Even better, reforestation can help take a bite out of climate change.

Trees breathe in carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for climate change, turning it into, well, wood.

Here in the United States, reforestation projects have helped reforest old coal mining land. In Australia, a start-up company is testing drones that could plant a billion trees a year. In Chile, seed-carrying border collies are helping plant seeds after forest fires.

Open fanny packs full of seeds mean the dogs deposit the next generation of forest with each jump and bound. Photo by Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images.

This also shows that other nations are still committed to the Paris Climate Agreement, with or without the United States.

While Trump's decision to renege on the Paris agreement essentially removes the United States from the negotiating table on climate change, other nations are stepping up. (As well as state and local governments too.)

India, for example, has promised to spend $6 billion reforesting 12% of its land under the Paris agreement.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh's chief minister, said in a tweet that "by planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large," The Independent reports.

But the best part of this whole endeavor may be that just about anyone can take part.

Chouhan said that people both young and elderly took part in the July 2 project.

Thanks to these volunteers, there are now 66 million more wild, animal-sheltering, carbon-scrubbing machines pumping away in India.

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Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

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Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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