A famous Chinese proverb says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today”.
When Projekt 23 was started in March 2009, one of the main aims was to demonstrate that we do not have to wait for Arbor Day, Arbor Week or Arbor Month to plant trees. Yes, we will still plant trees on these days, but we will do this on any other day when we can. Trees are basically the lungs of the earth and this is why. They absorb Carbon dioxide only to convert it to the Oxygen that we need so much. Therefore, it’s only fair and wise for us to use every opportunity we get to plant trees; or better yet, give ourselves opportunities to plant trees. Not just any trees, indigenous trees! What are indigenous trees? Indigenous trees are trees which occur in certain geographical areas naturally; as opposed to alien invasive species, which are species of trees (and animals) introduced from other geographical areas. For example, the Marula tree is a tree that is indigenous to Africa, whereas the Jacaranda tree is an alien invasive tree which was introduced in South Africa, originating from Mexico and certain parts on South America (Brazil, Peru, Argentina). Alien invasive species generally have no natural competitors since they are not in their natural environment; as a result, they end up out-competing any species close by for natural resources and minerals. Another difference between indigenous and invasive tree species is that alien invasive trees consume more water than indigenous trees do. And with water being a scarce resource in South Africa, we cannot be found aiding the spread of alien trees in our communities. So before we plant those trees, it’s important to find out whether they are indigenous or not.
And so we found ourselves driving from Pretoria to Mokopane in Limpopo on the 17th of July, where we were invited to do our schools programme at Ramollwana Secondary School as well as Raweshi Primary School in Mokamole Village on the 18th. Here, we gave an environmental education talk and planted, in total, 15 indigenous trees. From there, we went to join Mokopane’s Youth Development in Action for a clean-up campaign at the Mokopane Taxi Rank, where 4 rubbish bins were assembled. We also gave a talk here, after picking up litter with everyone who was there.
This trip was the third of our tree-planting events so far this year, with the other two being in Orange Farm and KwaThema, where we were invited by youth groups in those areas. So, with Arbor month being just a month away, I would like to encourage you all to pave the way for those tree-planting events in our schools and communities by planting a tree in your backyard; remembering again, that “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; and the next best time is today”.
Miss Tribute Jabulile Mboweni
Founder & Chairperson: SAYouth for International Diplomacy
LOC: G8 & G20 Youth Summits
Co-Founder & Chairperson: Projekt 23 – The Green Movement