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Fighting global warming by planting trees is easier said than done. It showed at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, UK where 110 world leaders chose stopping deforestation in the next 10 years instead of intensifying reforestation.

While the goal of the two strategies are the same, to help absorb too much carbon dioxide that drives life-threatening climate change, protecting forests could be a step in the wrong direction as the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests — a voluntary and legally non-binding agreement by 40 governments to halve deforestation by 2020 and halt it by 2030 — failed to slow down the destruction of forests and even accelerated it, according to Prof. Simon Lewis, an expert on climate and forests at University College London.

Nevertheless, there are concerned people who still continue to focus on planting trees to help restore severely denuded forests or create new ones from barren lands.

Instagrammer Zack Saadioui, 23, of Boca Raton, Florida had a novel way of gathering support for his tree-planting campaign. Saadioui used the new sticker feature of the photo-sharing site.

The interactive “Add Yours” sticker on Instagram allows users to reply to it with photos. Under his account named Plant A Tree Co., Saadioui posted a dare that he would plant a tree for every pet picture shared via the sticker.

Saadioui did not really know how the sticker works when he launched his tree-planting call on 1 November. He was expecting a few followers to reply by sharing a photo of their pet and thought he could plant a maximum of 200 trees for them.

Soon, however, Instagram Stories was flooded with photos of dogs, cats and other household pets. Saadioui deleted his post 10 minutes later.

In a message the next day to followers who were asking Plant A Tree Co. who would be planting the trees and where, Saadioui admitted he didn’t have the resources to do it.

“We simply wanted to check out a new Instagram sticker and thought we’d use it in a fun way that can benefit the environment. So, we made the post not really understanding how ‘Add Yours’ works,” read his post, according to NBC News.

It’s definitely impossible for Saadioui to fulfill his invitation that went viral and out of control. His post was shared 4.1 million times in a matter of few minutes before it was deleted.

It was the right decision as when he checked the post from other Instagram users last 8 November, it was reposted a million times. Unfortunately, there won’t be that many trees that will be planted.

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