NASA finds that Earth is greener than two decades ago thanks mostly to China and India—the world’s two most populous countries, which together make up 36% of humanity.
Despite being considered bad actors in environmental policies and climate change reduction, both nations have significantly ramped up efforts to be more eco-friendly; for example, India has engaged in record tree planting, with 800,000 Indians planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours.
The European Union and Canada have also seen significant improvements in this area. The U.S. ranks seventh in the total growth in vegetation percent by decade.
Although not mentioned in the study, Ethiopia, which is the world’s 12th most populous countries, has entered the fray in reforestation, beating India’s already-astounding record by planting 350 million trees in one day.
Bear in mind that a country that largely kept its forests and vegetation intact would appear to perform worse in re-vegetation than a country that had heavily deforested and thus has more room to grow.
These efforts are far from token: Research suggests that planting trees—lots of them—can significantly help mitigate the effects of climate change, to say nothing of their contributions to human well being.
If these two heavily populated and developing countries can find the will and resources to pull this off—despite the heavy demands to bring economic prosperity to their people—there is some hope, and certainly no excuse.