IN 2013, PAKISTAN SET A RECORD. They planted 847,275 trees in a single day. It seemed like a record that would stand for a while, but now, three years later, the record has been truly blown out of the water. India planted just under 50 million trees on July 11, 2016. The countrywide effort took 800,000 volunteers and a lot of saplings.
India’s staggering new record was set in part because of last year’s Paris climate talks. India committed to reforesting 12 percent of the country’s landmass, bringing the countrywide total up to 29 percent. Trees are important in the fight against climate change because they absorb carbon dioxide gas naturally. Deforestation means more carbon dioxide ends up in the atmosphere worsening climate change. More trees means less carbon dioxide.
This isn’t the only benefit of planting trees: India is a rapidly growing country with a lot of emissions. But being around trees has been proven to have physical and mental health benefits, too. Tree shade also helps lower the costs of cooling a home, which is essential in a country like India, where heat waves can be brutal and deadly. They also help prevent erosion and mudslides. This is an unequivocally good thing, and India deserves huge credit for it.