Tree By Tree: Part V
"[Young people:] The future belongs to them, they should get actively engaged in matters that they believe have a long term impact on their present and future lives. They should be the voices of the voiceless." - Sam Mutua
Ava: What are your dreams regarding your tree planting project?
Sam: I would really love to see every student/ child from at least 100 schools planting a tree/s in their school compound and planting a similar number of trees or more back at their own homes and in their own communities. Seeing children becoming agents of change in the restoration of the environment in their communities is a worthy dream. These are my dream tree ambassadors of tomorrow.
Sam: The uppermost environmental priority in the areas around Konza area were our tree/plant nursery is located is to try to arrest the prevalent degradation of the environment by supporting and promoting a ‘culture of tree planting’ among children in public schools. We envisage this approach will contribute in the long-term restoration of the currently destroyed environment and gradually address the prevailing climate variability, which is seriously impacting the lives of our local communities who are not privileged with resources or know how to navigate their lives in the midst of the changing climate in the world. These communities, by all means, would require to be empowered on adaptive livelihood strategies and opportunities to actively participate in reversing the impact of the prevailing climate change. To arrest this situation:
∙ We are looking for support to continue promoting tree planting in order to restore the environment and increase green cover, provide shade, enhance nutrition through additional planting of suitable fruit trees and create the right environment to clean air in our community schools public spaces.
∙ Further, we would like to support local communities to also plant trees in their homesteads to take care of family daily cooking energy needs while at the same time conserving the environment. Most of these communities are poor and would really benefit if supported/ assisted to access planting tree seedlings and other alternative livelihoods. Fruit trees will not only provide family nutrition but also alternate sources of income from sell of surplus fruits.
∙ The second objective in our tree-planting project is to support and strengthen the establishment of green clubs in 50 community schools located within a 25kms radius of Konza Greens Tree Nursery. This will include supporting and educating students/pupils from these schools on environmental conservation, and supplying these schools with tree seedlings and other supporting materials to nurture the planted seedlings that will gradually change the landscape of every targeted school in this project to a green school.
∙ In addition, the project will create awareness among teachers and parents to appreciate the benefits of restoring the degraded surrounding environment. It is envisioned that a healthy tree cover will not only restore the destroyed environment in the targeted communities and schools, but pupils/students from these schools will grow-up knowing & appreciating the value of trees and environmental conservation. It is anticipated that, once the planted trees are fully-grown, they will moderate temperature extremes and improve air quality in participating community schools.
To achieve the above - people can help in the following: -
∙ Adapt schools to strengthen tree-planting efforts in community schools: Continue the education and create awareness on value and importance of planting trees using school pupils/students as change agents to their communities.
∙ Support or provide Child sponsorship for education: for children from extreme poor families to enable them access education and in return - encourage them to plant and take care of trees in their own family homes and gradually contribute in addressing the impact of climate change in their community.
∙ Support community schools to purchase Rain Water harvesting storage tanks: A water storage tank of 10,000Lts would cost about $1000. 3 tanks per school would be sufficient to provide enough water for drinking, cooking, school and pupil hygiene and watering of the young tree seedlings when planted.
∙ Support schools to access sufficient tree plantings seedling: Ensures that every student can plant and take care of at least 2 tree seedlings per year in their school compound. Initially targeting 50 schools within a radius of 25km from our Tree Nursery. Most tree seedlings would cost between 0.5$ - 1$.
∙ Support about 500 families to acquire -working tools: These tools will be used to dig ‘water-storage ponds’ for harvesting surface water run-off during the rainy season. Adequate tools for a family would cost about 30$. Additionally, each family could be provided with a ‘plastic water pond liner’ to line up their ponds and ensure water collected in the pond doesn’t seep through the soil. The Dam liner will cost about 200$ for per pond. This initiative could provide poor families with water to grow Nutritious food especially vegetables throughout the year. This will create climate smart families consequently leading to climate smart villages and gradually contribute in building climate smart communities. Thus ensuring no child will sleep hungry or go to school without something to eat.
∙ Support families to construct energy saving stoves – this will reduce the amount of energy required for cooking in a family. The construction of an energy saving cooking stove would cost between 20 $ - 50$ depending on size.
∙ Consider Supporting 8 billion trees in marketing of our Maasai women handmade jewelleries: If this initiative is supported, Maasai women will earn a decent living from their hand made jewellery while at the same time continue planting trees in their communities.
11. What advice would you give young people who care about sustainability and want to help change the world, like you are?
The future belongs to them, they should get actively engaged in matters that they believe have a long term impact on their present and future lives. They should be the voices of the voiceless. They should appreciate that with the present means of communication, the world today is gradually becoming a small village; it is possible to reach out to other young people who have similar views and goals across the world and share ideas. There is no other world to run to. They must stand up and say no to Government policies that have a negative global impact on the environment. And above all, stay away from trouble, especially drugs that can seriously erode their capacity to make informed decisions. Each young person must remain focused and work hard so that they can leave behind a better world than they found. They should not tire to dream, because all genuine dreams are valid and they should pursue them to their logical conclusion. Finally, they should plant at least one tree every year. Imagine if every young person could plant a tree every year, the world would be green, global warming and climate change would be controlled and may be stopped.
Many thanks to Sam Mutua for taking the time to share his incredible work with our GSA Interns.
Follow Sam's work on instagram: @konzagreens
Learn more about his work with 8 Billion Trees.