Deforestation is one of the largest causes of global warming.
In an effort to reverse some of the effects of climate change, 24-year-old Antoine Moses from La Crete, Alberta, Canada, planted an astonishing 23,060 trees on 17 July 2021, earning the record title for the most trees planted by an individual in 24 hours.
Antoine broke the previous record of 15,170 trees which was held by another Canadian, Kenny Chaplin, in 2001.
Over the years, Antoine claims to have planted more than 1.3 million plants across Canada.
In his Instagram post, Antoine shared a picture of his Guinness World Records certificate.
"I'm proud to say that I'm Officially Amazing,” he wrote.
“Last year, I broke the tree planting world record, and it has finally been approved by Guinness World Records. Thanks again to my amazing team that helped me go through this challenge!"
Antoine said he had considered taking on the record for two years.
Although he had never planted over a span of 24 consecutive hours before, he had planted across multiple days for nine hours at a time, where he planted well over 8,000 trees.
“With all that craziness in the world right now with Covid-19, it feels even more important to beat a record like this one since it brings back to nature and the importance of taking care of our beautiful planet,” he said.
“So, my record would show the impact that one person can make on the planet’s health. I've planted well over 750 thousand trees in five years, and looking to reach the one million mark this summer.”
Antoine says he loves pushing his limits and soon realized he had a great ability to plant a lot of trees.
“It took me around four to five years to build up to the speed required to think of breaking the world record,” he said.
“I’m also really athletic and have always stayed in great shape during and between the tree planting seasons. Therefore, every year my endurance and fitness had been building up to a point where I was able to plant a lot of trees days after days.”
Although Antoine had plenty of help setting everything up to be able to plant so many trees, he did the work himself.
“I took a lot of coordination from the tree planting company Blue Collar and the camp supervisor Tammy to make everything happen while the normal season was rolling,” he said.
“So, yes, I planted all the trees myself, put the trees in my bags, and did everything the way a normal planter would go through his day, but I had a team of people helping me get through the day more smoothly.”
Antoine originally intended to break the record in 2020 but endured the unfortunate situation of losing a person who was near and dear to him.
“During a stormy day, a young lady planter lost her life while planting trees. Losing her was a wake up call for me, I had to re-evaluate my love for planting and find meaning as to why I was in this field,” he said.
“I left planting that year and was set back for a while, but I came back stronger. The loss sparked something in me, and I discovered motivation that propelled me to a new extent.”
The following year, he sought out to break the record by dedicating the event to his fallen friend and raised money for a memorial scholarship created in her honour.
“I had a dedication and strength like I’ve never felt before,” said Antoine.
“That is why I broke it.”
Antoine says in Canada there is a big industry for tree planting because every tree that is cut down must be planted back.
“In general, once land is either cut or has burned, a tree planting company gets quotas or contracts to go and plant those trees during the summer,” he said.
“Once we have land to plant trees on, we get our trees from a tree nursery where seeds are grown into seedling trees. That is usually what we plant.”
The trees that are usually between one to two years old are delivered to the planting land and tree planters use their planting gear to plant the trees one by one with their bags and shovels.
Antoine says it’s hard to tell exactly how his tree planting efforts will help the environment because he is usually planting monoculture or sometimes up to five species or more at a time.
“For now, I’m a strong believer that what we do might not be optimal for the environment, but it’s crucial to plant trees back for the next generation and to also reduce the deforestation of old native forests,” he said.
“The best-case scenario in my mind would be for us to plant enough forests to sustain our needs for lumber by only cutting forests that have been planted and protect our old trees.”
Despite how tired he was during the final hours, Antoine never once thought about giving up.
“I was really fortunate for the opportunity and for all the stars to align to make everything possible. I was able to push my limits that day and I was so happy with how my body and mind performed throughout the day,” he said.
“It was a great experience to be able to break a world record and very fulfilling. It also impacted my life a lot after and I’m very grateful for that.”
But Antoine’s tree planting endeavours don’t stop here.
Next, he hopes to set a new record for the most trees planted in 48 hours.
“I am still planting and plan to keep planting.”
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