Using the Pandemic to Rebuild the Earth

Jamie Cope

Although covid-19 has brought hard times to everyone, a lot of people are using their free time to be productive and do things they should’ve done a long time ago. You might think of something like cleaning out your closet. But with so many people out of work, we can work together to make the world a better place.

That was the thinking of the Pakistani government. They wanted to help their newly unemployed citizens. They found a way to do so, while also reforesting the nation. In 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan started the 5-year initiative 10 Billion Tree Tsunami campaign. It was temporarily shut down in March due to quarantine. But since so many agricultural workers were out of employment, it re-launched earlier in April.

All the workers follow social-distancing rules and wear masks. They protect trees from logging and fire and plant saplings and receive daily wages for doing so. Most of the trees are being planted in low income areas, where locals need work the most. The environmental ministers say they hope to hire three times as many workers as they did last year to plant 20 million saplings and bring the total of planted trees to 50 million.

“This tragic crisis provided an opportunity and we grabbed it,” Malik Amin Aslam, who is the climate change advisor to the prime minister, says, “Nurturing nature has come to the economic rescue of thousands of people.”