Campaign to Plant a Billion Trees Unprecedented WorldwideMobilisation for the Environment
A billion trees planted by the end of the year ñ that is the aim of the 2007 Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. With support coming in from around the world, pledges to plant a quarter of a billion have been received already.
This unprecedented campaign was inspired by the work of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai, founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, which has planted more than 30 million trees in 12 African countries since 1977. Speaking in London, at the Royal Geographical Society, Professor Maathai said: ‘There are six billion of us in the world, so if every one person in six plants a tree, we can do it!’
Nairobi’s United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, is co-ordinating the campaign, which is open to everyone. Governments, businesses, community groups and individuals can all make tree planting pledges on the UNEP website, which also connects those who cannot plant with others who can.
Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UNEP, says there is no longer any need for conjecture and debate about climate change. ‘We need action. We need to plant trees and in doing so, send a signal to the corridors of political power across the globe that the watching and waiting is over ó that countering climate change can take root through one billion small but significant acts in our gardens, parks, countryside and rural areas.’
As well as individual pledges, there are much more ambitious schemes. An international team, based in Spain, plans to plant 8 million trees in the shape of a giant heart in the Sahara desert, whilst Monaco is planning to replant some 500 acres in Lebanon and 200 acres in Chile.
Trees for Life have pledged 100,000 trees for Scotland and French organisations, including the Ministries of Ecology and Agriculture, are committed to the planting of 5.5 million trees in France.
‘The Campaign,’ says Achim Steiner, ‘can also be seen as a significant and straight forward expression of a common determination to help make a tangible difference.’ It gives new impetus to the sayings of a Chinese poet, living 2,500 years ago, who said: ‘If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed but if you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree.’ Or, as Wangari Maathai puts it: ‘When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.’
Contact: Public Information, UNEP,
PO Box 30552, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
Tel: +254 20 762 1234