Driving the Tree Planting Initiative

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Firm proponents of the need to save the planet, the STEAM club members of Caleb British International School, comprising year seven to Year 11 students, have been driving a tree planting advocacy by creating a 3D recycled project on ‘Restoring our Forests’ which highlights the benefits of planting trees geared towards instilling the culture of maintaining the ecosystem and sustaining the rainforest. Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that the project recently won them the David Shepherd Award in London at the 2021 Global Canvas Art Competition

In the quest for urbanization, most cities were replaced by buildings, asphalt roads, and bridges with no care for how trees could still remain in the landscape. The resultant effect is a degraded environment left at the whims and caprices of climate change.

In fact, this has prompted some environmental
experts to postulate that without the environment, man will be nothing since human activities are made possible by the existence of his environment.

Firm proponents of the need to save the planet, the STEAM club members of Caleb British International School (CBIS), Lagos, Nigeria, have been driving tree planting advocacy, with the goal being to actively engage the students to help make the world a more just and sustainable place. This they have done by creating, protecting and appreciating the green environment, in a bid to bequeath a sustainable environment to the next generation.

Interestingly, the movement towards planting trees and replenishing the earth has assumed center stage in global discussions in the last decade. Essentially, tree planting has become expedient because it has been proven that the quality of man’s health largely depends on the number of trees around.

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Climate Change
Without a doubt, the effects of climate change have led to adverse weather conditions. One of the many reasons includes the fact that mankind fell trees in multiples but fail to replace any, and because trees use up carbon dioxide and give us oxygen to breathe, the felling of trees without replacement leaves more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which causes ozone depletion.

This simply means that the iceberg separating the sun from having a direct impact on the earth causes rapid melting of the ice from above, while the excess carbon dioxide from the earth also enhances the rapid melting of the ice from under.

This and more are reasons why experts and indeed students of Caleb British International School, have continued to clamor for enhanced tree planting by everyone to checkmate the effect of climate change. Expectedly, nowadays, environmental issues are receiving attention at global levels and the global community are continuously making efforts towards ensuring that the world is a better place for human habitation.

Their efforts are to ameliorate the continuous threat of climate change challenges the world faces, which includes global warming, greenhouse gas effects, flooding, acid rain, typhoons, earthquakes, windstorm, land and mudslides, desertification, tsunami, erosion, volcanic, hurricane, and pollution, amongst several others.

Role of Trees on the Ecosystem

It is often said that ‘when the last tree dies, the last man dies’. Undoubtedly, trees have their roles in the ecosystem, thus the need to improve on the environment because they contribute to the oxygen. Asides from providing oxygen that humans consume and absorb whatever carbon monoxide that is in the atmosphere especially during the day, trees provide shelter and barrier against rain and windstorms.

When trees are cut down or forests are cleared, the earth becomes poorer. Essentially, trees give, improve, and sustain life, prevent erosion, fight the flood, regulate climate change, provide habitat for wildlife and ensure clean oxygen.

It is also known that trees are quite germane to human existence directly or indirectly. For instance, it’s insufficient trees and grass that cause conflict in animal grazing for the different ethnic groups. Thus, planting trees could be one of the easiest ways to reclaiming such grounds from desertification.

Also, a healthy environment ensures healthy living. Again, apart from the aesthetic value of trees, the health and environmental benefits of trees are also innumerable, as well as the transformation and greenery of open spaces.

Economic-wise, the planting of trees generates paid employment opportunities for horticulturists, pruners, gardeners, welders, tanker drivers, security personnel, down to the water boy, all of who help to keep the trees alive.

Deforestation in Nigeria
Sharing insight on what aroused their interest in saving the planet through trees, the CBIS team said: “About half the land in Nigeria used to be covered in trees. Today, Nigeria has lost 96 percent of its forest due to deforestation. This is alarming and catastrophic!

“As of 2005, Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Between 2000 and 2005 the country lost 55.7 percent of its primary forests, and the rate of forest change increased by 31.2 percent to 3.12 percent per annum.

“Forests are being cleared for logging, timber export, subsistence agriculture, and notably the collection of wood for fuel which remains problematic in western Africa. The country’s rainforests are fast declining. And if action is not taken, we will continue to experience an increase in temperature due to global warming.

“The fact is that our planet is becoming warmer every day, which is known as global warming. Global warming is one of the greatest problems in the world today. Global warming is a phenomenon of climate change characterized by a general increase in average temperatures of the Earth, which modifies the weather balances and ecosystems for a long time.

“It is directly linked to the increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, worsening the greenhouse effect. Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth’s temperature by burning fossil fuels, cutting down rainforests and farming livestock.”

Taking Action against Deforestation

Putting action to words, the students, parents and teachers of CBIS recently took “Action for Forests Restoration: In Celebration of the International Day of Forests (usually marked on March 21)”.

To mark it, the students, parents and teachers took action against deforestation by planting trees in commemoration. The project was led by the school Principal, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Esther Ebor, supported by two CBIS parents, Mrs. Adetula and Mrs. Oseremen. According to them, the event was to further advance their tree planting advocacy and to put their concept into implementation.

Shedding further light on this, the principal said:
“The STEAM project is an interdisciplinary learning approach that enables our students to integrate multiple fields of studies for creative, innovative and critical problem-solving.

“We engage our students in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to develop their core competencies which allows them to solve their community issues and contribute to contemporary global issues at both national and global levels as informed, engaged, responsible and responsive global citizens. We want our students to actively engage with the world, and help to make it a more just and sustainable place.”

Bagging the Shepherd Award
Barely four days after, the Tree Planting Advocacy STEAM project of Caleb British International School won David Shepherd Award. The final was hosted online from DSWF office in London on Thursday, March 25 and 2,219 children from 26 countries participated. CBIS won one of the five awards at the competition.

The award was their second time of clinching it, but this time, they won with their 3D recycled project (Tree planting advocacy) at the Global Canvas Art Competition 2021.

Participants
The participants comprise Year seven to Year 11 STEAM CLUB members of Caleb British International School, Lagos, Nigeria. The list of the Global Champions includes: Oluwaferanmi Favour Oyeyipo, Gilead Okechukwu, Kanyinsola Jegede, Okonkwo Chisom, Timandra Usoroh, Milly-Jane Dzikwi, and Keziah Archer.

Others include Melogo Bosah, Daniella Ayeyemi, Umeh Adetutu Rita, Ikechukwu Iheannacho, Nsa Tenley, Mykelti Ogbeide, Kosochuku Cyril-Ukpaka, Adedokun Ayomide, Akinsanmi Sharon, Obi-Chinedu David, Olabiyi Gideon Tomilola, Oladipo Agboola Samuel, Onosetale Osegbale, Iweha Esther, Anyaogu Emmanuella, Onugo Stephane, David Kela, Usoroh Galadriel, and Elliot Ibiyeapuye.

The STEAM project was coordinated by Prince Olusegun Adeniyi and supervised by the school Principal, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Esther Ebor, with the support of Mr. Inyang David Edet, Mr. Imah Okokon, Mrs. Osundiya, Mr. Edosa David and Mr. Magnus Ogho.

3D Recycled Project
In credence to the above, the STEAM students of CBIS, Lagos, also created 3D recycled project to drive tree planting initiatives and advocacy titled: Restoring our Forests (Afforestation and Reforestation). The project highlights the benefits of planting trees which is geared towards instilling the culture of maintaining the ecosystem and sustaining the rainforest.

Reiterating that without the plants, the climate may become dryer and growing food could become impossible for many, they further posited that “rainforests play a practical role in keeping our planet healthy by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing the oxygen that we depend on for our survival.

“The absorption of this CO2 also helps to stabilise the Earth’s climate. As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

“This project was executed with about 90 per cent recycling materials. Recycling is an absolute necessity for dealing with waste and another response to reducing global warming. The goal of this project is to champion the culture of planting trees in order to restore our forests, preserve biodiversity, prevent climate change and
reduce global warming.

“This project is related to SDG 13: Climate Action; SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG 15: Life on Land. More about this project can be learnt at www.calebsteamhub.blogspot.com”.

Given that it’s no longer news that the global environment has been ravaged by eco-degradation leading to climate change as a cumulative effect of years of environmental negligence on man’s part, it is therefore expedient that best efforts are put in to rehabilitate the environment, especially through tree planting, which is known to make a huge impact in the fight against environmental problems, including global warming.

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