All over the planet more and more people are joining forces in the name of preserving the forests of the world. Restoration is not the only action that we must take in order to fight climate change, but it is one of the most important and most practical.

Despite heightened global awareness of the issue, deforestation has not slowed down. In fact, it has gotten more and more intense each year. More than 74 million acres of tree cover were lost in the year of 2016 alone, a devastating and miserable record year.

But as the situation gets more urgent, so does the dedication and spirit of those willing to fight for the survival of mother nature and the forests of the world. Here are some stories of people and groups who have been getting busy reforesting the world:

The Indian Government:
At the Paris Climate Conference in December of 2015, India agreed to spend $6 billion in reforestation efforts, with the goal of reforesting 235 million acres (29% of the country’s territory) by 2030. In 2016, the country was able to plant 49 million tree saplings on a single day (July 11), with massive support from the people and great organization from the government. A reported 800.000 volunteers worked for 24 hours to accomplish this feat. In 2017, the government repeated the effort on an even larger scale, and 1.5 million people volunteered and were able to plant 66 million trees in just 12 hours, breaking the record they had just set the previous year.

That’s more than 100 million trees planted within two years. Way to set the example, India!

Felix Finkbeiner and Plant-for-the-Planet:
After being given an assignment on climate change in school, Felix became fascinated by Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan woman who won the Nobel Prize in 2004 for her reforestation campaign that resulted in the planting of 30 million saplings. Then-9-years-old Felix made a pledge to plant 1 million trees and devote his life to reforestation. At the age of 13, his campaign had gathered enough supporters to complete the goal of a million trees and he was invited to speak at the UN in New York. He launched the reforestation project Plant-for-the-Planet and the UN entrusted them with stewardship of their Billion Tree campaign. Today, the two projects have planted more than 14 billion trees in 130 nations and their new goal is to reach 1 trillion trees (that’s 150 for every person on Earth). To put that into perspective, there are currently an estimated 3 trillion trees alive in the whole world. His motto: “Stop talking, start planting”.

Jadav Payeng:
As a teenager, Jadav realized that the island he lived on, the Majuli Island in the Northeast of India, was becoming more barren and life-less due to flooding and erosion of natural and human-made causes. Over the last 100 years, Majuli lost 70 per cent of its landmass. In an effort to preserve the integrity of the land and bring life back to the area, Jadav began planting seeds with the intention of growing a forest. He dedicated 3 or 4 days of each week to this endeavor for 30 years, and he single-handedly created a new forest that spans 1,400 acres. The creation of the forest made it possible for lots of wildlife to return and thrive in the area, including tigers, deer, rhinoceroses and over 100 elephants. Jadav said that the biggest difficulty in this task was protecting the forest from other humans, who relentlessly sought to cut down the new trees and kill the animals.

Links:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/felix-finkbeiner-plant-for-the-planet-one-trillion-trees/
http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai/biography
https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/10/28/jadav-payeng-forest-man-majuli_n_6026242.html
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/india-plants-50-million-trees-uttar-pradesh-reforestation/
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-plant-66-million-trees-12-hours-environment-campaign-madhya-pradesh-global-warming-climate-a7820416.html