Rotaractors plant 1,000 trees in Swaziland
Rotaractors from four clubs in Swaziland partnered with the Swaziland Environment Authority and Nedbank Swaziland to plant 1,000 trees at a school in the Ezulwini Valley earlier this year. Swaziland’s minister for tourism and environment, Macford Sibandze, attended the project launch. Standing, left to right: Nomcebo Dlamini, Buyani Fakudze, Sibandze, and Sonkhe Nhlabatsi. Seated: Thuli Makhubu. Photo courtesy of Dino Dlamini, 2009-10 Rotaract representative for District 9250
Four Rotaract clubs in Swaziland recently teamed up to plant 1,000 trees at a school in the Ezulwini Valley in an effort to combat deforestation.
It is one of many projects that Rotaractors and Rotarians take part in throughout the year to help the environment. On 22 April, 500 million people in 175 countries will observe Earth Day, which focuses attention on environmental stewardship.
"As with polio, Rotarians cannot isolate themselves from the disastrous consequences of global climate change," says Henry Kyemba, a member of the Rotary Club of Source of the Nile, Uganda, and the RI representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya.
"Either we are all safe from its consequences, or we all go down with it," he says.
The Rotaract clubs of Malkerns Valley, Manzini, Mbabane-Mbuluzi, and University College of Swaziland partnered with the Swaziland Environment Authority and Nedbank Swaziland to plant their trees over two Saturdays in February and March.
The effort was part of the larger Billion Tree Campaign , launched by UNEP in 2006 to curb deforestation, one tree at a time. According to the organization, tree planting is one of the most cost-effective ways to address global climate change.
Rotaract clubs throughout District 9250 (Botswana; Mozambique; South Africa; Swaziland) are participating in the Billion Tree Campaign through their district's Plant for the Planet project, says Eurídice Vicente, 2008-09 district Rotaract representative and past president of the Rotaract Club of Maputo, Mozambique.
"These days, sustainability must be a way of living and thinking," she says. "Our campaign is not only to plant trees but to teach people how to take care of the trees and allow them to grow."
Vicente said that in her community, trees are cut down for many reasons. "We decided to join the Billion Tree Campaign because we believe that it is good not only for us but for future generations. More people will know about Rotaract, and a mark will be strongly [imprinted on] Swaziland."
In March, UNEP declared that the Billion Tree Campaign had already resulted in three billion new trees being planted. It announced a new target of seven billion by December, when the next UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
UNEP encourages business and community groups to participate in the campaign by registering on its Web site and pledging to plant a specific number of trees.
"Rotarians have a clear responsibility to help combat global climate change," Kyemba says. "Doing nothing is not an option."
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