The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh set out to plant 50 million trees in 24 hours and break a Guinness World Record.
Uttar Pradesh, which is the most populous state in India — and home to the famous Taj Mahal (pictured below) — distributed millions of saplings to be planted last Monday, in a move that was as much a publicity stunt as an attempt to enact swift and great environmental change.
To plant the millions of trees needed to break the current record of 847,275 held by Pakistan, some 800,000 men, women, and children from around the state planted trees in pre-designated spots, which included highways, railroads, and forests.
“The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told volunteers Kannauj the Associated Press reported.
The initiative is part of a $6.2 billion dollar plan to plant trees across the country in order to create 235 million acres of forest by 2030.
The mass planting, Yadav said, would help to generate passion and mindfulness about curbing the environmental ailments that plague many immerging nations such as India.
Sanjeev Saran, an Indian forest official, noted to the AP that roughly 60 percent of the saplings are expected to survive and areal photographs would monitor the growth.
As of now, almost a week on from the mass planting, an official tally of trees planted has yet to be made. But Guinness officials were reportedly present throughout the process, monitoring the plantation.
The event is also not the first time Uttar Pradesh has entered the history books for making great environmental gains: last year the state made it into the Guinness books for distributing and planting over a million trees.
While some have criticized such events of environmental “tokenism,” there’s no denying that hundreds of thousands of people coming together to plant trees and better their communities is an encouraging step toward a brighter future.
For their enthusiasm, for their goal to set an example, and for their desire to create a better world for tomorrow, we are happy to name the citizens of Uttar Pradesh our Luminaries of the week.