An Ethiopian man poses holding tree seedlings during a national tree-planting drive. AFP
These days whenever Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appears in public, he removes his jacket, rolls up his sleeves, grabs a shovel and gets to planting a tree.
Abiy is leading by example as Ethiopia plans to plant a mind-boggling four billion trees by October, as part of a global movement to restore forests to help fight climate change and protect resources.
The country says it has planted nearly three billion trees already since May.
On Monday, state employees were given the day off as Abiy sought to get the rest of the country involved, and the government claimed a "record-breaking" 350 million trees were planted in only one day.
"I think we demonstrated the capacity for people to come together collectively and deliver on a shared vision," Billene Seyoum, Abiy's press secretary, said.
The figure has attracted scepticism about the sheer number of volunteers this would require, and the logistics involved.
"I personally don't believe that we planted this much," said Zelalem Worqagegnehu, a spokesman for the opposition Ezema party.
"It might be impossible to plant this many trees within a day."
Yet Zelalem also noted that hundreds of members of his party planted trees of their own on Monday, and suggested the actual total was beside the point.
"We took this as a good opportunity to show solidarity with the citizens," he said. "Our concern is the green legacy, making Ethiopia green."
Planting only first step
Ethiopia's forest cover declined from around 40 percent half a century ago to around 15 percent today, said Abiyot Berhanu, director of the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute.
"Deforestation has become very grave in many parts of Ethiopia," he said.
The recent tree-planting drive has targeted areas that have been stripped of their trees over the years, Billene said.
The types of new trees planted have varied from region to region.
"A lot of nurseries have been working on producing more saplings over the past couple months," Billene said, while some of the saplings and seedlings had come from abroad.
"We don't speak so much about planting trees but about growing trees."
Abiy's tree-planting drive is part of a national environmental campaign, known as the Green Legacy Initiative that includes cleaning waterways and making agriculture more sustainable.
"Everyone was clear and understood the long-term vision," she said. "They actually bought into the benefits of what it means to have a green country."
If Ethiopia really did plant 350 million trees on Monday, it would have smashed the current world record of around 50 million held by the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
However an official determination may have to wait.
Read on to find out what's veganism, and how shifting to a vegan diet and discipline can do a world of good.
Ethiopia's clothes factory workers, producing items for top fashion brands including Guess, H&M and Calvin Klein, are the worst paid in the world, earning only $26 (23 euros) a month, a report said Tuesday.
A Chinese artist unveiled a sculpture made of discarded mobile phones and shaped like a cell tower in a bid to highlight the problem of electronic waste.
New York's Empire State Building, Egypt's pyramids, London's Big Ben and Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue were among the world's most renowned monuments plunged into darkness for an hour Saturday as part of a global campaign to raise awareness about climate change and its impact on the planet's vanishing plant and animal life.
Romania's autumn fairs are a loud, colourful reminder that summer has come to an end. And for many families in poorer areas of the country, they are one of the few affordable events of the year.
Mark and Juliane Pokini and their son, Loihi, applied in December for the Guinness recognition involving an arduous verification process by the company known as the chronicler of the world's record achievements.
California will be the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products and the third to bar most animals from circus performances under a pair of bills signed Saturday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.