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.
मध्यप्रदेश के लिए आज का दिन ऐतिहासिक है। चारों तरफ बच्चे, बूढ़े, नौजवान, बुजुर्ग पौधे लगा रहे हैं।… https://t.co/uuvSdAEojz— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@Shivraj Singh Chouhan) 1499001405
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.