How to Plant 10,000 Trees in One Day

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In the animated film Wall-E, there's a pivotal scene where the eponymous trash-robot hero presents a delicate plant, potted in an old boot, to his new friend and future soul mate, Eva. The small plant, healthy yet so vulnerable, represents both the resilience and fragility of life on Earth. This tiny sapling (at left), planted last week during Umuganda, the monthly day of community service in Rwanda, reminded me of that scene.

Worldwide, 70,000 trees were planted on World Environment Day this year, according to UNEP -- 10,000 of them in Rwanda during this event on the outskirts of the capital city of Kigali. I was there (my trip was sponsored by UNEP) along with hundreds of schoolchildren, business people, soldiers, and many, many others, all of whom grabbed a hoe, carried a sapling, and took responsibility for ensuring the future health and biodiversity of the Nyandungu wetlands, and with them, symbolically, life on this planet.

Photo: Meaghan O'Neill

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