Kenya has announced an unexpected public holiday on November 13, urging citizens nationwide to participate in a massive tree-planting initiative as part of a broader plan to address climate change. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki revealed this groundbreaking move through social media, emphasizing the patriotic nature of contributing to the country’s environmental well-being. Currently, Kenya’s forest cover stands at approximately 7%, prompting the government to allocate over $80 million in the current fiscal year to raise it to over 10%. The overarching objective is to plant and nurture a staggering 15 billion trees by 2032 under the Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme, with the aim of rejuvenating over 10 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems.

This innovative tree-planting day is a pivotal step in countering the detrimental impacts of climate change, particularly in the Horn of Africa, where prolonged droughts have become increasingly severe. To bolster this nationwide effort, the Kenyan Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Ministry will provide tree seedlings, showcasing the government’s commitment to fulfilling its climate action obligations. Environment Minister Roselinda Soipan Tuya sees this as a ‘hummingbird’ contribution day, urging all Kenyans to unite in defending the environment. President William Ruto, who has been prioritizing the national landscape and ecosystem restoration program since September 2022, has received commendation for this initiative, even earning praise from King Charles III during his recent visit to Kenya. The king, impressed by Kenya’s ambition to plant 15 billion trees, underscored the global significance of such efforts in the face of the escalating climate change crisis.