First Caribbean tree planting week

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Since February 2020, the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance (CariPhilAlliance) and its network of partners have mobilized youth, community-based and non-governmental organizations across 22 Caribbean countries and territories to plant more than 1.4 million trees, through the Caribbean Tree Planting Project (CTPP).

As a result, there has been an upsurge in enthusiasm and advocacy, especially through youth action – the CariPhilAlliance Tree Planting ambassadors. These ongoing activities have inspired the CariPhilAlliance’s inaugural Caribbean Tree Planting Week (CTPW), to be celebrated virtually from July 5 to 11, 2021.

The week’s events, under the theme “Protecting Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage in the Caribbean,” aim to build public awareness of the importance of planting trees – a critical part of the region’s environmental and cultural heritage. At the same time, the week will reflect on how to achieve several of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, especially the worst-performing SDGs in the Caribbean. According to the 2020 SDG Report, these include SDG #2 (Zero Hunger); #6 (Clean Water & Sanitation); #8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth); #9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure); #10 (Reducing Inequalities); #11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities); #14 (Life Below Water); #15 (Life on Land); #16 (Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions), among others.

“We at CariPhilAlliance believe that the voices of the Caribbean people – especially our youth – must be raised in support of a movement towards truly sustainable development across the region,” said Professor Rosalea Hamilton, chair, CariPhilAlliance and chief executive officer, LASCO Chin Foundation.

“The Caribbean contributes less than one percent to global greenhouse emissions, but we are increasingly bearing the burden of the environmental devastation that climate change brings. We are hurting from the significant social and economic impacts over the years, now worsened by the COVID pandemic. We must address this existential crisis collectively, by building strong partnerships across boundaries and taking on the ground action. During the week, we aim to tap into our cultural roots, while exploring ways to protect our precious natural heritage and build resilience for the future.”

The week will open with an indigenous prayer ceremony on July 5, followed by a cultural celebration of trees, in collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative; talks on The Journey of the Baobab Tree from Africa to the Caribbean by Professor John Rashford of the College of Charleston, and on climate action with Professor Sieuwnath Naipal in Suriname; a focus on Empowered Women and Trees with Caribbean Women Entrepreneurs; a children’s education event in Trinidad and Tobago; and a Musical Evening with Trees organized by the Jamaica Music Museum. A close partner, the Trees That Feed Foundation that contributed 55,316 trees to the CTPP, will also talk about “Breadfruit – the Miracle Fruit.” The CariPhilAlliance Tree Planting ambassadors will also be involved in several events, including a training event on composting and a “Fireside Meditation and Reasoning” event.

During the week and beyond, national teams – from Haiti to the Bay Islands of Honduras, from the Caymans to The Bahamas – will be busy planting trees (where possible given COVID restrictions) and engaging in related activities. If organizations would like to get involved, they can register their activity at: https://bit.ly/3gHVqFh

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