The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is kicking off its 40th anniversary celebrations in Africa by planting 40,000 fruit trees across Zimbabwe from August–December. The theme of the #plantafruittree project, “Environmental Safeguarding and Climate Change,” highlights ADRA’s legacy of implementing practical efforts to mitigate the consequences of climate change and improve community health.
“The repercussions of the climate catastrophes are being felt all over the world. Our global humanitarian agency has witnessed firsthand how extreme weather, deforestation, wildfires, and development have resulted in the extinction of billions of trees,” says Michael Kruger, ADRA president. “As we commemorate ADRA’s 40 years of disaster response, humanitarian relief, and development assistance, we are committed to promoting initiatives such as tree plantings that not only can help improve natural air quality, decrease erosion, and remove pollution, but also generate wellness benefits for residents in all communities.”
ADRA inaugurated the #plantafruittree initiative in August, with the assistance of Zimbabwe Forestry Commission officials, by hosting public tree-planting demonstrations at campsites and planting the first 1,000 trees in the country’s schools, farms, homesteads, and institutions across ten provinces. The arbor celebrations continue this month with the installation of 200 more fruit trees on September 9 at the Country Club Newlands Zimbabwe golf course in Harare. Kruger, representatives of ADRA partner USAID (United States Agency for International Development), government leaders, ambassadors from various embassies, and over 3,000 church volunteers are expected to participate in the tree-planting ceremony.
“We recognize that climate change has a wide array of impacts and inevitably has considerable implications on humanitarian and development interventions,” says Judith Musvosvi, country director for ADRA Zimbabwe. “ADRA is dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability and raising awareness on the impact of climate change.”
Musvosvi continues, “Fruit trees have been specifically chosen for this effort because they are less likely to be chopped down in the future. We have noticed that it will be difficult for anyone to cut down a fruit tree, say, for firewood.”
ADRA invites all communities, schools, churches, and public and private organizations worldwide to join the movement by planting trees in neighborhoods and sharing their experiences online with the hashtag #GoGreenWithADRA. This year, for National Arbor Day, the global organization launched the campaign in the United States on April 28 at the Atholton Adventist Academy in Columbia, Maryland. To mark ADRA’s 40th anniversary, the students planted 40 trees at the event.
“ADRA is a positive change-maker. We know ADRA doesn’t just provide temporary aid to people in crisis but also stays in communities and partners with them to build for the future,” says Mikay Kim, principal of Atholton Adventist Academy. “We want our students to be positive change-makers as well as see the importance of investing in and caring for both our earth and its people. We want them to know about the tangible and life-changing effects that even planting a tree can have on people.”
ADRA encourages everyone to #GoGreenWithADRA by planting two or more trees in their neighborhoods to participate in nature-based solutions that will help to reduce carbon emissions for years to come.
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