Plant Trees to Reduce Effects of Climate Change

Jamaicans, particularly those living in urban centres, are being encouraged to plant more trees, in order to offset carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists say, are the main contributor to global warming and climate change.

The heat-trapping emissions, released from activities such as electric power generation, factory operations and transportation, are a key driver of rising temperatures that could lead to potentially catastrophic effects, including flooding and more intense droughts.

“One important step that we can take to mitigate against future impact is preserving our forests. Our forests play a major role in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the environment as our trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Department and Conservator of Forests, Marilyn Headley.

She was addressing the 13th staging of National Tree Planting Day on Friday (October 2), at the St. Andrew Technical High School, located at 64 Spanish town Road, Kingston.

The theme for this year’s initiative is: ‘Plant a Tree, Reduce Carbon D,’ with particular focus on urban centres, where carbon emissions are highest.

Ms. Headley is appealing for everyone to participate in the national tree planting exercise.

“We have seedlings so that everyone can get involved. Get your friends and your family to plant on their private land because (the Forestry Department) can’t do it alone,” she said.

“Every Jamaican has a part to play in the conservation of our forests… It’s not that you are only to plant trees today. Today is just the day that we use to remind you that this is what you must do normally…let’s get started,” she urged.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Lt. Col. Oral Khan, plants a tree at the launch of National Tree Planting Day on Friday, (October 2) at the St. Andrew Technical High School located on Spanish Town Road. The annual exercise is spearheaded by the Forestry Department.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Lt. Col. Oral Khan, who delivered remarks on behalf of the portfolio Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, welcomed the focus of this year’s tree planting project on urban centres.

He noted that urban communities are in need of trees to provide shade and reduce heat.

“I do hope that when we leave here today, everyone will take the importance of planting trees back to their communities,” he said.

The official ceremony to kick-start the national tree-planting initiative was attended by Custos of Kingston, Hon. Steadman Fuller; Deputy Mayor of Kingston, Andrew Swaby; and Member of Parliament for Western Kingston, Desmond McKenzie.

Members of the public can collect seedlings at any of the Forestry Department’s four nurseries located at the head office in Kingston; Moneague, St. Ann; Williamsfield, Manchester; and Mount Airy, St. Andrew.

Since the inaugural staging of the event in 2003, more than 100,000 seedlings have been distributed island-wide.

Jamaica Information Service