19-12-2019 by Giovanna Grampa
A symbol as simple as it is important: a "human" tree in the centre of the Plant Your Age logo: so do it, Plant your age!
A laudable initiative aimed at all people who want to celebrate their birthday by planting trees equivalent to their age, ensuring their growth to maturity.
The project was promoted by the Green Africa Foundation based in Nairobi by its President, Dr. Isaac Kalua who, for his fiftieth birthday, September 14, 2019, wanted to give himself a ceremony in style to plant 50 trees in an area of Uhuru Park in Nairobi in the presence of government personalities, television and journalists of the main Kenyan newspapers. And to emphasize the event, the plants were buried by 47 children, one from each county of Kenya, one from Adriano Ghirardello as Honorary Warden of KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) and representative of the international community, one from the Minister of Environment of Nairobi County, one from the representative of the former President of the Republic, Mwai Kibaki, and one from Dr. Kalua himself in the name of the Green Africa Foundation and as a celebrant.
It is no coincidence that the third President of the Republic of Kenya was called back because it was Mwai Kibaki himself who launched this campaign Plant your age when, already in 2012, the Green Africa Foundation had dedicated The Kibaki Green Corner in Kitui to the then President in office, planting 80 trees to commemorate his 80th birthday.
Ambitious is the goal of increasing forest cover to 10% by 2022 with this initiative, alongside the Kenyan Government's mega-project of planting 20 million trees to combat deforestation. The national forest heritage, in recent decades, has suffered serious damage to the production of timber and coal despite the fact that since 1999 cutting trees is illegal. And despite the ban, a large part of the population has continued to saw trees because, according to Dr. Kalua, currently 90% of Kenyans still use coal for cooking, coal obtained from burning trees. Coal is a cheap source of energy, it burns more slowly and produces more heat than wood, it is lighter and therefore easily transportable and can be stored for a long time without the risk of rotting or being damaged by insects.
Talking about deforestation seems so far from us, almost outside our ability to contribute in a concrete way. This is not the case because it is a problem that passes before our eyes every day.
It is not uncommon to see a man pushing a bicycle with at least three to four bags placed one on top of the other and secured to the rack with a tie of inner tubes knotted together. It often happens to come across scenes like these along African roads, especially in rural areas. The black cubes that sprout from the bags are pieces of charcoal and their use is to make fire for cooking. And that coal is one of the many small businesses with which many African families earn that little to survive: they cut the trunks of the endemic plants and let the wood burn covering it with a pile of earth for about a week in the absence of oxygen.
This is the warning cry of the Green Africa Foundation in promoting small-scale reforestation through a participatory approach and addressing schools, numerous environmental associations, ordinary Kenyan citizens and numerous foreign NGOs operating nationwide.
It is up to us to re-propose the Plant Your Age project also on the coast in partnership with the Green Africa Foundation to improve the quality of the environment and increase the forest heritage.
Back from Nairobi we talked about it with GianFranco Ranieri, President of Karibuni onlus, who immediately married the project with exciting enthusiasm, launching in turn the campaign Plant Your Age with the blessing of Dr. Isaac Kalua who will soon come to visit the farm of Karibuni in Langobaya where the project will come to life. Everything is ready and the first plants have already been planted waiting for many people to join the initiative.
In a way where consumerism reigns, where every gift is certainly superfluous, what better gift to make to themselves by planting as many trees as there are springs to celebrate, knowing that they help to stem a problem of such vital importance that the country must face.
Planting trees is relatively cheap and does not require any technological progress but has an amazing potential to combat climate change and desertification.
Our lives can be richer by helping to make nature dynamic, knowing how much natural resources are at risk and how much they can be used for the purpose.
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