Kenya surprised its citizens with an unplanned public holiday on November 13, urging everyone to engage in a massive tree-planting campaign to combat climate change. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki announced this via social media, stressing the patriotic duty of contributing to the nation’s environmental health. Currently, Kenya’s forest cover is at 7%, prompting the government to allocate over $80 million this fiscal year to increase it to 10%. The ambitious goal is to plant and nurture 15 billion trees by 2032 under the Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme, aiming to revive more than 10 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems.

This groundbreaking initiative addresses the severe effects of climate change in the Horn of Africa, particularly worsening droughts. To support this nationwide effort, the Kenyan Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry Ministry will supply tree seedlings, demonstrating the government’s commitment to fulfilling climate action obligations. Environment Minister Roselinda Soipan Tuya encourages all Kenyans to participate in this ‘hummingbird’ contribution day to protect the environment. President William Ruto, who has been championing the national landscape and ecosystem restoration program since September 2022, has received praise for the initiative, even from King Charles III during his recent visit to Kenya, highlighting the global significance of planting 15 billion trees in the face of the escalating climate change crisis.