Growing trees with children
“Mummy, when are we going back to see the tree that I planted? I want to water it and see how tall it has grown!”
Above is a persistent question from my beautiful 8-year-old daughter. Her name is Natalie.
Celebrating 10 years of work and commitment to ending child poverty, as part of the ECP@10 grow trees with children campaign, on 22nd October 2022 Arigatou International’s, End Child Poverty led by an amazing team, joined efforts in a tree planting exercise. The event took place at Administration Police Training College (APTC), where over 10,000 trees and tree seedlings were donated and planted.
The grow trees with children campaign was informed by the reality that climate change is unquestionably an ongoing threat to poverty reduction. Climate change is further a direct threat to a child’s ability to survive, grow, and thrive. Often, children bear the indirect brunt of climate injustice particularly those already living in poverty.
Remember when we said we are ‘leaving no one behind’– a pledge that lies at the heart of the SDG framework? Well, Halfway to the deadline for the 2030 Agenda, the SDG Progress Report; Special Edition shows we are leaving more than half the world behind. I am certain that all who have put in the work towards achieving the latter are disappointed but not surprised. The same report highlights that we have entered an age of poly-crisis where conflict, climate change, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other global challenges are threatening to derail hard-earned progress toward the achievement of the SDGs. My supervisor Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, Secretary General of the Global Network of Religions for Children, a man who sought after my own heart due to his passion for children and their well-being believes that the 4th of the 3 C’s (mentioned above) is CHILDREN. Yes! Children… why children you may wonder? The answer is simple, ‘If we care for them today, they will change the world tomorrow.
Think about it! If we are truly working towards building a better world, more so for children, why not involve them in the processes that will lead to the achievement and retention of the same? I couldn’t agree more, an investment in the child today, is additionally one in the future—a better future!
At my daughter’s tender age, through the tree planting exercise, she has learned 1) the value of planting a tree (more biblical for me, I could share endless quotes from the bible that document the same, actually, I will; refer to 2 Corinthians 9:10) and 2) that for anything to grow, it must be nurtured. The tree she planted should be 8 months old now. I don’t know what her expectations are… I hope she is neither disappointed nor surprised (pun intended); back to her question, I will take her to visit her tree, soon!
I can’t help but imagine a world where every child understands what planting a tree today can do for the world tomorrow. How do we equip our children with skills and knowledge that present a sustainable environment and respond to the need for climate action?
Allow me to leave you with a Chinese proverb “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Heartfelt gratitude to my friends and colleagues!