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Ethiopia Planted a Record-Breaking Number of Trees in a Single Day

In just one day, 350 million trees were planted in the country as part of efforts to tackle deforestation and climate change.

In 2017, India set a new record for the number of trees planted in a single day at 66 million. Almost two years later, Ethiopia has surpassed that record with a colossal figure of 350 million trees. It's certainly no small feat and the East African country is leading the rest of the world when it comes to addressing deforestation and its contribution to the increasingly urgent crisis that is climate change.


Monday's record is by no means a once-off endeavor but a part of a broader national "green legacy" initiative which was launched in May under the leadership of Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The initiative hopes to see at least 4 billion trees being planted in a few months time. The Prime Minister, leading by example, joined in on the planting of a few trees in Addis Ababa.

After taking office in March of last year, the Prime Minister has made significant changes. Ahmed officially put an end to the two-decade long tensions and hostilities between Ethiopia and it's neighboring country Eritrea. Additionally, he committed to ensuring that multiparty elections would be held and that political dissidents and critics of the government would no longer be jailed as was the case in the past, the New York Times reports.

Aljazeera reports that a number of schools and government offices were closed to encourage citizens to "go and make their mark" by contributing to the planting. While it is not yet clear whether the Guinness World Records was monitoring the tree planting, the Prime Minister's office expressed that they had the assistance of a unique software with regards to the counting.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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