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Ethiopia ‘Breaks World Record’ by Planting 350 Million Trees in 12 Hours

The national tree-planting initiative aims to grow 4 billion trees throughout the country this summer.

Elias Marat

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Ethiopia 350 Million Trees

(TMU) — Around 350 million trees have been planted in a single day in Ethiopia, according to officials, in what could possibly be a new world record.

The tree-planting campaign, which is a part of a national initiative meant to grow 4 billion trees throughout the country this summer, aims to prevent further deforestation and climate change in a country that is prone to drought.

Every citizen has been encouraged to plant at least 40 seedlings, with public offices even facing days off so that civil servants can take part, the Guardian reports.

News that the 350 million trees were planted in 12 hours came via a tweet by Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria, who trumpeted the news:

If proven, the achievement is truly record-breaking, shattering the current world record for planting trees in a single day, which stands at 50 million trees planted in India in 2016.

State-run media have urged members of the public to devote their efforts to planting and caring for the indigenous trees, with staff from foreign embassies in Ethiopia as well as international and regional organizations such as the United Nations and African Union taking part in the project.

The exercise, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and dubbed the Green Legacy Initiative, is taking place across the country in 1,000 different locations, according to BBC.

Critics of the prime minister claim that the campaign is a cynical exercise aiming to distract Ethiopians from domestic troubles, including internecine warfare and strife between ethnic groups that has driven around 2.5 million people from their homes.

However, such conflicts are also rooted in the degraded agricultural conditions in the region, where lush vegetation and greenery has faded and made way for barren land due to decades of poor land-use policies and general underdevelopment.

The United Nations says that since the early 1900s, Ethiopia’s forest coverage has precipitously declined from 35 percent of total land to barely 4 percent in the 2000s.

Bekele Benti, a bus driver in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, told Xinhua:

“As a bus driver, with frequent trips across the country, I have witnessed the extent of deforestation in different parts of Ethiopia.

It’s really frustrating to see forest-covered areas turned to be bare lands within a few years.

This is a great opportunity for me and fellow Ethiopians to contribute to our country’s better future towards a green and environmentally well-positioned Ethiopia.” 

Officials hope that the tree-planting initiative can improve the living conditions of local populations, rebuild agricultural plots and rural economies, and ensure climate stability for future generations.

The initiative will also open doors to broader progress toward social development, allowing Ethiopians to remain at home rather than be forced out by the desperation that drives migration from impoverished regions in Africa.

The World Food Programme believes that the initiative is “critical for Ethiopia which had lost billions of trees and forest resources over the years.”

Dan Ridley-Ellis, the head of the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University, told the Guardian:

“Trees not only help mitigate climate change by absorbing the carbon dioxide in the air, but they also have huge benefits in combating desertification and land degradation, particularly in arid countries. They also provide food, shelter, fuel, fodder, medicine, materials and protection of the water supply.

This truly impressive feat is not just the simple planting of trees, but part of a huge and complicated challenge to take account of the short- and long-term needs of both the trees and the people. The forester’s mantra ‘the right tree in the right place’ increasingly needs to consider the effects of climate change, as well as the ecological, social, cultural and economic dimension.”

Ethiopia joins other groups in their recent tree planting efforts. As the Mind Unleashed previously reported, a Sikh initiative called The Million Tree Project aims to plant one million new trees throughout the world, with tens of thousands already having been planted.

According to a new study published in the journal Science, these initiatives have the potentially to be an effective means of reversing climate change. As previously reported by the Mind Unleashed, planting about a billion trees across the globe could remove two-thirds of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide—approximately 25 percent of the CO2 in the atmosphere—creating a vast natural means to trap and store the emissions in an affordable and politically non-controversial manner.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Bizarre

Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change

Elias Marat

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Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”

Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.

However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.

The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.

“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.

“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.

“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”

“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.

Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.” 

“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.

Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.

On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.

“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.

According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.

However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.

“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.

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Environment

Luxurious Airships Will Soon Be ‘Hopping’ Between Cities, And Could Drastically Cut Flying’s CO2 Emissions

Elias Marat

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A revolutionary new startup called Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) is hoping to massively reduce the carbon footprint of air travel by replacing commercial airplanes with blimps for short-range flights.

An estimated 2.4 percent of global CO2 emissions come from aviation which, along with the other gases it burns and the water vapor trails produced by aircraft, is estimated to contribute roughly 5 percent of global warming.

However, by slashing the number of planes traveling short distances and instead using airships to hop between cities – think from Los Angeles to Las Vegas or New York to Toronto – HAV could contribute to a drastic cutdown of airliners’ carbon emissions.

At present, about 47 percent of regional airplane flights in Europe connect cities that are less than 230 miles (370km) apart, emitting a massive amount of carbon dioxide in the process.

HAV, which gained early funding from seasoned pilot and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson along with UK government backing, says that its airships only emit around ten percent of the greenhouse gases of a passenger plane – and the number could reduce further as the startup continues to electrify its fleet.

According to HAV chief executive Tom Grundy, the airships are more like a “fast ferry” than an all-out replacement for airplanes. In total, a short-range blimp voyage should take roughly the same amount of time as a short flight when factoring in check-in times, security procedures and the wait at an airport.

“This isn’t a luxury product,” Grundy told The Guardian, “it’s a practical solution to challenges posed by the climate crisis.”

“We’ve got aircraft designed to travel very long distances going very short distances when there is actually a better solution,” Grundy added. “How much longer will we expect to have the luxury of traveling these short distances with such a big carbon footprint?”

The company has already begun discussions with a number of airlines to forge new partnerships to operate the routes.

“It’s an early and quick win for the climate,” Grundy said. “Especially when you use this to get over an obstacle like water or hills.”

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Corruption

Scientists Horrified as Over 27,000 Leaking Barrels of Toxic DDT Discovered on Seafloor Near LA

Elias Marat

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Over 27,000 barrels of the toxic insecticide DDT have been found so far on the seafloor about 12 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, in what could be one of the greatest examples of industrial pollution uncovered in recent memory.

The barrels have been leaking, and researchers fear that there could be up to a few hundred thousand barrels of DDT waste in total. Over 100,000 total objects have been found in the area by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The barrels cover an area roughly spanning double the size of Manhattan and lie off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, which is home to dozens of endemic species that exist nowhere else in the world.

DDT waste has been linked to cancer and widespread disease among humans as well as mass die-off events in the natural world. It is likely that the vast trove of illegally dumped DDT could be linked to the widespread cancer faced by sea lions along the West Coast.

“Unfortunately, the basin offshore Los Angeles has been a dumping ground for industrial waste for several decades, beginning in the 1930s. We found an extensive debris field in the wide area survey,” said Eric Terrill, chief scientist of the expedition and director of the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said in a statement.

Los Angeles Times reports that shipping logs from a disposal company implicate Montrose Chemical Corp. of California, a company that produced DDT, in likely dumping some 2,000 barrels of DDT-laced sludge each month from 1947 to 1961 into a designated dumpsite.

Additionally, logs from other entities show that several other industrial concerns in Southern California used the basin as a dumping ground until 1972, when the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act was enacted.

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