As Jamaica observes National Tree Planting Day today (October 2), Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., is encouraging Jamaicans to make tree-planting and maintenance a regular part of their daily lives.
The Minister, who planted a Sweetwood Tree at the Forestry Department property in Kingston, on Friday (October 2), emphasised that the Government is leading the tree-planting movement.
“Not only is it a good and exciting recreational activity but trees are important to us in terms of our own existence. As human beings we need this type of biodiversity. We need plants and plants need us, and so there is a balance and alignment in terms of how we live on this planet – we have to live together,” he said.
“So, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are planting trees, because we need them for life, we need them for food, we need them for making furniture, and we need them for stabilising our earth. Everything has its purpose in life, in particular our trees, and sometimes because they don’t speak to us, we don’t hear from them how important our own behaviour is to their existence,” the Minister added.
Mr. Charles Jr. said every member of the Cabinet, Parliament, head of an agency, school, member of the police force, Jamaica Defence Force, teacher, civil servant, “beginning with Government, must go out there and stop talking about planting and actually plant and show it”
“Record it, put it on your social media and ensure that you get five or 10 persons and let’s start a movement,” he added, noting that the movement is not just about planting, but for the greater purpose of sustaining the environment.
The Minister pledged to lead the initiative in terms of planting, recording and showing the different stages of growth, noting that he has already started in his home with his children.
“Go out there, plant your trees, nourish them, maintain them and ensure that we are spreading the green spaces across our beautiful island,” Mr. Charles Jr. said.
Meanwhile, Principal Director of Forest Operations at the Forestry Department, Jerome Smith, said that in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the department has launched a virtual tree-planting exercise for persons to take a picture or record a video of themselves planting a tree and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for them to be uploaded to the agency’s social media pages.