13th November Declared National Tree Planting Day
The Kenyan government has declared a special public holiday on the 13th of November, 2023, dedicated to a nationwide tree planting initiative. This ambitious endeavour is a part of the government’s grand plan to plant a staggering 15 billion trees by the year 2032.
The announcement came directly from the Interior Minister, Kithure Kindiki, who took to social media to share the news. He stated, “The government has declared a special holiday on Monday, the 13th of November, 2023. On this day, citizens all across the country are encouraged to participate in tree planting as a patriotic contribution to our national mission of safeguarding Kenya from the severe impacts of climate change.”
Kenya’s current forest cover stands at approximately 7%, a figure the government is determined to improve. To facilitate this, over $80 million (£65 million) has been allocated in the current financial year to support the effort, with the aim of raising the forest cover to over 10%.
It is well-known that trees play a crucial role in combatting climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide, a primary contributor to global warming. In contrast, deforestation exacerbates climate change by disrupting the process of photosynthesis, preventing trees from absorbing carbon. Additionally, the practice of burning during deforestation releases substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The dire consequences of the climate crisis are already evident in the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, where persistent droughts have plagued the region for five consecutive seasons.
To ensure the success of this monumental tree planting initiative, the Kenyan Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry has pledged to provide tree seedlings. This endeavour is being hailed as “an unprecedented display of the government’s commitment to fulfilling our climate action responsibilities.” The collective effort to plant trees on this special holiday serves as a critical step towards a greener and more climate-resilient Kenya.