Amidst many worrisome news of climate crisis, the surprising report by NASA that says Earth is literally a greener place than it was 20 years before, offers a sigh of relief. By Sushmita Srivastav

The recent report shows that the two emerging countries, India and China have contributed massively to our planetโ€™s greenery in the last two decades by ambitious plantation programmes and intensive agricultural initiatives.

The new insight was reported by a 20-year-long data record from a NASA instrument called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS. Suggesting that the two developing countries are leading when it comes to greening the planet, the study based on extensive satellite imagery, credits the effect to ambitious tree plantation programmes in China, and intensive agriculture in both the countries. Earthโ€™s green leaf area has seen a rise of 5% since the turn of the new millenniumโ€”that equals to over two million square miles. One third of the leaf increase is attributed to the two countries with the worldโ€™s highest populations, which is contrary to the common notion that populous countries over exploit the resources and lead to land degradation.

However, the same does not suggest offsetting of deforestation and its damaging impacts on the ecosystem. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain the same, but the new findings still send out a positive message, and a ray of hope for a better, greener future.

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