Planting trees, Paris Agreement and Protecting Mother Earth….the 3Ps!

April 22, 2016 was a very, very special day. Personally (and professionally too)- the day commemorates my completion of graduate studies from the noble State University of New York- College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). This institution continues to be highly ranked as having the best environmental programs in the USA. My intellect was enhanced by quantum leaps and my inclination as a ‘tree-hugger’ was officially solidified there.

The day also marked International Mother Earth Day. Quite aptly the theme for the day was ‘trees for earth’ and in the shorthand, social media application #trees4earth. PRAJAco partnered with the youths and planted seedlings donated by the Forestry Department. Trees

One of the seedlings- Blue Mahoe- planted by PRAJAco and OHBCYC. International Mother Earth Day, 2016.

The information below from the Earth Day network is very useful.

Why Trees?

Trees help combat climate change.
They absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles.

Trees help us breathe clean air.
Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Trees help communities.
Trees help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.

(See more at: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/earth-day-theme/#sthash.wmvLV5Ku.dpuf).

In addition, for many of us environmentalists and development specialists, it was also a most significant day. This was due to the fact that a recorded 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement for Climate Change in New York at the UN Headquarters. Our government in the person of Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith signed the agreement, on behalf of Jamaicans. It was also quite a symbolic gesture that Sen. John Kerry signed the agreement for the USA with his grand-daughter in hand. I thought that an illustrative declaration as the American Indian proverb states that, ‘we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.’

Climate change is a clear and present danger across the globe. All of us are affected and impacted. It is unfortunate that there are still persons who doubt the reality. The link below, as titled, is a very good presentation providing some great information for our Caribbean (briefly) and Jamaican context (specifically the impacts on biodiversity).

Dr. Dale Webber’s Presentation on Climate Change via www.nepa.gov.jm

The 1.5and below rallying cry and campaign leading to COP21, for which SIDS were the main stakeholders, is said to have had a huge impact because the evidence of climate change is already real for these countries. The combination of these events helped to increase my resolve to continue to avail myself to serve and to also encourage my partners to do the same. Its time for ACTION and PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS- now more than ever.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

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