20 Billion Trees! New Campaign Aims To Keep Wangari Maathai’s legacy Alive

A Kenyan farm products company has embarked on a historic mission that seeks to uphold the message, actions and legacies of one of the greatest and most celebrated eco-feminists in Africa – Wangari Maathai.

Wangari Maathai, who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her audacious conservation and democratic efforts, personally planted over 30 million trees and used her influence, office and persuasion to convince the world to plant over 11 billion trees.

Now, following in the footsteps of the iconic environmentalist, GPC Eco Life, a Kenyan company that deals with organic fertilizer and farm products, has decided to walk in the steps of the historic Maathai and go even further – plant an extra 9 billion trees from Kenya to places as far as Peru, Bangladesh and Burtan.

“We have realized that since the death of the great Wangari Maathai, the focus on tree plantation and the activism around it started to die down. And, given the current drought situation in Kenya, there can never be a better time to kickstart the movement. There is a lot of soil erosion, poor soil fertility and massive climate change sweeping the world and Kenya in particular. So, we have embarked on an ambitious project to not only save the face of Kenya but that of the world, “Joe Kariuki, the GPC Eco Life CEO said.

The 20 Billion trees campaign now seeks to inspire people from all walks of life – and all corners of the world, too – to spare a minute, head out to the farmlands and the open spaces and plant a tree.

“We are giving out free seedlings for planting. Absolutely free. In fact, everyone gets 100 seeds and is free to go out and plant them on their own. Our aim is to fight environmental degradation and the sweeping climate change. We’re calling upon all Kenyans, all East Africans and all humans of the world to plant 20 billion trees, exceeding Wangari Maathai’s own 11 billion record,” he added.

To further bolster the conservation ambition, the company has also planned nationwide tree-planting sensitizations across all secondary schools in Kenya in all 47 counties, beginning with Nairobi schools and traversing schools deep in North Eastern and across the Coastal region.

In 2007, Ms. Maathai launched the ‘Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign’, which was backed by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the Green Belt Movement, Prince Albert II of Monaco and the World Agroforestry Centre.

The campaign, backed by UNEP, sought to plant an extra 1 billion trees across the world.

“Her actions remain a deep inspiration for us. And that’s why we’ve refused to let her dream die – we intend to uphold it, keep her legacy alive and heal the world at the same time,” Hilda, a GPC Eco Life spokesperson, said.

The #20BillionTree campaign is also open to all — individuals, children and youth groups, schools, community groups, non-governmental organizations, farmers, private sector organizations, local authorities, and national governments.

The campaign identifies four key areas for planting: degraded natural forests and wilderness areas, farms and rural landscapes, sustainably managed plantations and urban environments, but it can also begin with a single tree in a back garden.

Free seeds are being supplied to all interested participants by the GPC Eco Life company and can be obtained at any NCPB branch or Agrovet near you.

Digital Factory