The planting spree was part of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's "Green Legacy" reforestation campaign. The goal was to get 200 million seedlings planted in just a 12-hour time span. Millions of Ethiopians took part in the initiative, and six hours into the challenge, Ahmed tweeted they were closing in on their goal.
"We're halfway to our goal," Ahmed tweeted before encouraging the citizens to "build on the momentum." With this extra push from Ahmed, Ethiopians well exceeded their expectations.
"353,633,660 Tree Seedlings Planted in 12 Hours," Ethiopian minister for innovation and technology, Getahun Mekuria, shared on Twitter. The total surpassed the world record of 66 million trees planted in 12 hours, which was set by India in 2016.
The motive behind the initiative was to help reverse the changes to the climate that were created by deforestation. Currently, Ethiopia is a drought-prone country and according to the UN, the country's forest coverage is only at four percent, a drastic change from the last century, when 35 percent of the country was covered in forest. Ethiopia became one of 20 other African countries to join the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative in 2017.