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 Tree Campaign

Today is Earth Day and I wanted to write something about what’s happening to our planet, and in particular to Ethiopia, and also what can be done to protect our future.
I am a person who loves nature and I try to spend as much as I can enjoying the outdoors. When we can, we go to natural areas in Oregon or we travel to Ashford in Washington State to walk in the woods, to ski, to hike in Mount Rainier or in the Nisqually River. This place is one of the most beautiful of this country for those who love nature and it’s called the Pacific Northwest. It includes the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and also British Columbia in Canada. A big part of this place still is still wild and it’s blessed by a lot of rain that helps the growth of lush vegetation and a lot of wildlife.

Land erosion Even while Ethiopia is close to the Tropics, because of its height it enjoys zones of temperate climate. Not long ago it was covered by large forests but as many parts of the planet it suffered deforestation which rapidly turn the land into desert because the erosion of the fertile layer of the soil. 
The poorer a country is, the more it abuses of its natural resources, simply because its the only way to survive that have its inhabitants. In Ethiopia, deforestation occurred for many causes and it has accelerated in recent times. It is believed that forty years ago, 40% of the country was covered by forests, but today that surface it’s only 2.7%.
Tree CampaignDeforestation was caused primary by the cutting of trees to commercialize the wood, and the use of land for agriculture and livestock . 81% of the population works in agriculture, generally with just a surviving criteria. A common practice is to burn the fields which sometimes gets out of control and burns thousands of acres of native forests and also other crops like coffee.
To this we have to add the fact that most of the people depends on wood to generate energy: 95% of all the energy produced comes from wood.
The population growth has accelerated, with an annual rate of 2,7%.  Besides that, the plains more apt for agriculture are not used by the people because they are infested with mosquitoes that cause malaria.
If all this wasn’t enough, global warming has been altering the region climate, with higher temperatures and less rain.
The landscape changed from forests to shrubs, then to savanna and finally to a semiarid land.
All this affected the wildlife too, which has lost habitat and, as usually happens, invaded towns trying to survive,producing a conflict with the people. Not long ago a group of lions killed 20 peasants and 750 domestic animals in Ethiopia.
The country is home to 626 species of birds and 255 of mammals; of all of them, 93 are at risk of extinction.
Tree Campaign The United Nations Program for the environment launched a world campaign to plant trees. Under the name Billion Tree Campaign, people and communities get together to plant at least a billion trees in the world every year. In their website there is a lot a information, even a free book in electronic format. There is also a Photo Album of the campaign planting trees all over the world, of course also in Ethiopia, where 724.820.384 trees have been planted.

La campaña de los mil millones de arboles  and the Album en (.pdf in Spanish)
The billion tree campaign and the Album (.pdf in English)
Campaña en España

I love nature in general, but specially trees and I think this kind of campaigns are important to replant the planet after so much daily destruction. If all of us planted a tree a year, considering that the Earth population is of 6,600,000,000 people, can you imagine all those trees planted per year? They don’t have to be big trees, simply seeds.
I’ve lost count of how many trees I have planted in my life, in Argentina and in the US, and I keep planting…
In every country there are organizations that are dedicated to the protection of nature and to promote and help to plant trees, you only have to contact any of them, get some information and get involved in improving the environment.
Happy Earth Day!

Other projects - Ethiopia:
Greener Ethiopia
Trees for the Future - Ethiopia
Ethiopia Tree Fund Fundation
Green World Campaign
Foundation Green Ethiopia
Eden Projects - Ethiopia and video
Online Journal of Ethiopian Environmental and Energy Concern

Amigos de los arboles - Spain
Friends of trees - USA

Links with news:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1766717.stm http://www.wrm.org.uy/boletin/55/Etiopia.html
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0124/p06s01-woaf.html

Books:

Deforesting the Earth
Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis by Michael Williams
 Trees and shrubs
Field Guide to Common Trees and Shrubs of East Africa by Najma Dharani

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