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Home / OPEDS

Oh people! leave politics aside and plant a tree

Traders display indegineous tree seedlings and flowers in Kisii town on 29/6/2021. [Sammy Omingo,Standard]

Last week, Fred Machoka, the radio broadcaster put in a call for action on Facebook on afforestation.

The post that garnered almost 15,000 likes was: “Arrest desertification NOW, plant a tree TODAY, stop talking!!!!” It was a simple yet powerful call to action.

Afforestation has been cited as one of the ways to taper off the harsh effects of climate change.

No one can argue about that. But the comments on Machoka’s post were interesting. Some stubborn and misinformed people brought unnecessary politics into the discussion.


“Planting any tree is as dangerous as desertification, always plant an indigenous tree where one of a similar calibre stood many years ago.. That’s called sustainable afforestation..,” said one Facebook user. That comment generated heated debate.

Politics aside, tree planting is a simple yet powerful initiative that can be implemented by the local community, schools, churches, women groups, the youth and even people living with disability to restore lost forest cover.

As climate change hits hard, afforestation has been one of the most talked-about methods of dealing with global warming. According to Conserve Energy, future afforestation refers to the process of sowing seeds or planting trees in an area that does not have trees to create a forest.

Afforestation is “the conversion of bare or cultivated land into forest.” On the other hand, reforestation refers to planting trees in a land with a decreasing number of trees.

So what are the benefits?

Afforestation has numerous benefits but I will dwell on a few.

According to Earth Reminder, afforestation solves the problem of imbalance in the ecology, global warming, soil erosion and greenhouse effect.

It also helps to purify the environment.

According to Earth Reminder, afforestation increases the number of trees on earth by creating artificial forest land. Additionally, it helps in reducing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Other benefits of afforestation according to the website are:

It solves the problem of climate change. Climate change is mainly affected by the greenhouse effect. Afforestation helps in treating the problem through photosynthesis done by the trees.

When trees are planted, they help in binding the soil and arresting the problem of soil-erosion. And there are more benefits.

Parting shot.

This habit of going for a tree-planting event where only one dignitary plants a tree as the rest watch, then a photograph is sent to all media houses for PR sake, should stop.

If the tree-planting is to be considered a success, everybody should get their hands dirty and plant a tree. So go ahead and plant a tree!

[Hellen Miseda is an Editor at The Standard passionate about environment conservation]

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