“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” ― Chinese proverb
I find climate change a difficult subject to broach, and after a bit of contemplation I think it’s because I keep reading and hearing the same thing over and over again yet still feel incapable of actually doing anything to help.
One can get that ‘drop in an ocean’ kind of feeling very quickly and that’s the train of thought we need to get ourselves out of. I’ve been fortunate living at Londolozi as it has served as a great space to easily get involved in environmental and sustainable initiatives which more often than not occur at my doorstep. One of these events occurred at our last 2020 walk around, whereby the Londolozi Family got together to plant trees in our village.
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago” ― Warren Buffett
The day before this event I was forwarded a link to an article titled ‘Tree Planting has Mind-Blowing Potential to Tackle Climate Crisis‘ in the Guardian, which is a strategy which I think everyone could get involved in. Life has a funny way of working out, as I sat reading this article and planting trees the following day I realised this had all fallen on South Africa’s Arbor Week. The article brought to life the enormous potential that a simple tree-planting strategy could have for our planet, “New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.
“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people”― Franklin D. Roosevelt
What was great about this tree planting strategy is that the areas which have been chosen exclude all crop and urban areas, therefore not impacting food production. “This new quantitative evaluation shows forest restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said Professor Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, who led the research. “What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed.”
“Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.”
It seems obvious then that forest restoration should be factored into every national strategy, but it is also something which as individuals, we do not need permission to do. You’d be amazed at all the potential spots for tree planting that you pass on a daily basis. While planting trees with the Londolozi Family it was incredible how many spaces there were for trees which will one day shade the paths and houses we frequent everyday.
“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking”― Wangari Maathai
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility”― Wendell Berry
Planting trees as a group resulted in an eruption of enthusiasm. The texture of soil in the palm of your hand and the rich smell of earth and herby fragrance of botanicals milling in the air, add to that recognisable and satisfying feeling of securing and giving life to a tree sapling. After a tree planting frenzy we gathered together to enjoy an ice cold beverage, much deserved after an afternoon planting in the heat of early summer.
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit”― Nelson Henderson