Trees are life! Without trees the land dries out, destroying the livelihoods of humans and animals. Trees keep the soil healthy and preserve the climatic equilibrium of our planet. They provide food and habitat for animals and wood for cooking and building homes for humans. People meet with each other under the shadow of trees. The tree has always been a sign of life and a symbol of peace.
Particularly in Africa, trees and lives are endangered. Our western lifestyle exploits the ecosystems of our planet, not just near our own homes, but also in Africa. From there we import many of our resources, while the pollution from our unlimited lifestyle fuels climate change leading to droughts, especially in Africa. The area necessary to permanently maintain our lifestyle - our ecological footprint - is two times larger than the area of our countries. We live at the expense of others! The destruction of livelihoods in the rural areas of Africa doesn’t just lead to hunger; it also drives people into the slums in the search for work. This leads to the destruction of social networks and cultural knowledge, giving rise to poverty, violence, crime, and terrorism.
Trees create livelihoods for people, restore nature, and promote peace. Tree-planting is a task that we can do together, and through which we can learn a lot from each other through intercultural exchange. The Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai once said the following:
“We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty, and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process."