The word Arbor is a Latin word which comes from the word Arboriel which means ‘something which lives in the tree’ and the words Arbor means ‘tree’. Arbor day originated in Nebraska, USA when Mr J Sterling Morton persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees and he also encouraged participation in the event by publishing articles on the value of trees. The first official Arbor Day was on the 10th April 1872 whereby the people of Nebraska planted one million trees.
On the 1st of September every year the people of South Africa come out in number to celebrate Arbor Day. This day was first celebrated in 1983 here in South Africa; it was later extended to National Arbor week in the year 1999, today this special day of planting and taking care of our trees in celebrated during the whole month of September. Two indigenous trees (one common the other a rare tree) are highlighted annually to increase public awareness of indigenous trees they are called “Trees of the Year”:
Common tree: Lavender trees genus Heteropyxis
Rare Tree: White Ironwood Vepris lanceolata
This year the Marakele BSP team, People and Conservation team, Working for Fire and representatives from the Thabazimbi Municipality and the learners of Deo Gloria Primary School celebrated National Arbor Week on 3 September 2014 at Deo Gloria Primary School and Regorogile Community Hall. They all came out in numbers with one aim at heart to “green our community”
“We are protecting our environment one day at a time, the perfect time to start conserving and educating the masses on environmental awareness is not today nor was it yesterday the perfect day to raise awareness and take the necessary initiatives to protect our environment was 20 years ago. So let us spread the word and green our hearts we are already behind schedule” was said to the participates of the day.
“Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me” : Michael Jackson
The Importance of Trees
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen that we use to breath. The natural carbon cycle keeps a balance of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. But our actions and behaviours towards the environment cause changes which upset the natural balance. The creation of too many greenhouse gases causes an imbalance with heat being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, increasing the overall average temperature which results in global warming.
We produce excessive amount of carbon dioxide by fossil fuels (coal and petrol) in our power plants, factories and cars and by deforestation. The destruction of rainforests and cutting down of other forests also affects the balancing act. By destroying Earth’s natural forestation we threaten our existence. Planting trees is one of the most cost- effective ways of offsetting our carbon emissions. However we do need to do all we can to reduce our footprint on the planet, and offset that which cannot be reduced by planting trees.
Trees play a vital role in rural and urban populations. As they are needed to enrich and anchor soil, to maximise water supplies, to beautify and humanise townships and urban areas and to provide shelter and shade. They are also crucial for biodiversity conservation. Products and services from trees include food, timber, fibre, medicines and energy. It highlights the essential role trees play in sustainable development and the livelihoods of people and their environment, now and for the future. The aim of Arbor month is to promote and create a better life for all by working together to plant more trees and reduce our carbon footprint.
Let us raise awareness and green our communities because trees play an essential role in the sustainable development of the livelihoods on the people for the present and future generation.