KAMPALA — Mother nature still cries for our actions to save it, during this lockdown, we can plant so many trees for remembrance of the tough times we are going through as well as answer her cries too.
In December 2019, the pandemic of coronavirus disease was identified in Wuhan, China. Then declared to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.
Being a serious pandemic, the virus swiftly spread all over the world as it claimed people’s lives terribly and as we talk, by 13th April 2020, more than 1.85 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 210 countries and territories, resulting in more than 114,000 deaths.
Its life claiming trait put the globe at stake. In response, different heads of states issued serious directives as measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and consequently defeat it.
Of all the directives issued by different authorities, the most outstanding was “Stay at Home” as schools, places of worship, markets, offices and factories remain closed. For the case of Uganda and a few others, it was loose until the president chased both public and private means from the roads and consequently Boda-bodas to only carry cargo up to 2pm. Curfew starting at 07:00pm (EA)
I am saying, What about if ‘I’ planted a tree in this lockdown?
The stay at home directive has gained a globe attention and became one of the trending hash tags on twitter for good days. #StayHome #StaySafe
Guess what! As all this is focused on curbing the pandemic, a lot of serious and non-serious family issues broke out. So many people came out to tell how it is boring, hard life to be at home with a wife, others with husbands, relatives and so forth. This forced the minister of gender to wake up and issue some advices like; Fellow women, don’t ask for chicken at home because it will cause you problems. Just prepare beans and eat them as if it is chicken. I also ask you to keep away from men’s phones.
In his address to the nation, President Museveni was forced to wear a tough face and send a message to those that were mummering; “this time is not about Convenience but just about life and death.”
It is indeed a tough time BUT What about if ‘YOU’ planted a tree in this lockdown?
What is on everyone’s mind is when shall we resume business and make some money to earn a living?
In the recent Africa heads of state video call, they asked for loan waivers noting that there is a slowdown in economic activities because the Coronavirus outbreak will cost the continent jobs and affect incomes of vulnerable populations.
It is also crucial by the way BUT What about if ‘THEY’ planted a tree in this lockdown?
You know, there is another bigger problem that we can use this time to solve and that is Climate Change.
Just in the same 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19, unexpected heavy rains across the country paralyzed business and led to loss of homes and livelihoods to many Ugandans. Notably, transport was brought to a standstill by floods that swept bridges in some area. This affected school going children as some missed their exams.
These were indicators of that the devastating effects of climate change are escalating.
Let’s not forget this time.
Different environmental and climate change activists, government agencies and none governmental organisations have come up since then to gear up the fight against climate change. Climate change campaigns have been ran noting the famous WWF’s Earth Hour campaign that this year focused on kicking out Kaveera and single use plastics in Uganda.
To many of us, we had not noticed and appreciated that saving nature is our responsibility too. We had not also noticed that it just takes a single action to create a great impact on nature.
I repeat, what about if ‘WE’ planted a tree in this lockdown?
Do you know that with this lockdown, a lot of tons and tons of CO2 is saved from destroying the Ozone layer? In a few days, scientists will tell how much we save nature by stopping movements. In my small home village trading center, all sorts of pollutions have been checked and nature can breathe. I guess it’s the same there.
A check on movements only cannot have a significant impact on CO2 levels on a global and long-term scale, nor will it be enough to permanently mitigate global warming.
You are not alone. Just know, close to 35 million Ugandans are at their homes for all the time of the total country lockdown. If we all planted a single tree for remembrance of this tough time, they would be 35 million trees planted. And if we plant for each day that passes, Simple mathematics can work it out.
To those in the villages like where I am, just make a choice of the tree specie and plant the seedling in the evening. You can still walk a short distance like a km, get from the neighbors who has a nursery bed. However, this is different from those in the Urban settings but you can still walk and buy from those roadside nursery beds.
(Calculate it also as part of your work to chase away boredom in the lockdown).
Just take a photo planting a tree, share on twitter, tag friends and family you would want to plant too and play your part in making mother nature a better place to live in.
This writer, Happy Ali is a communications officer at World Wide Fund for nature-Uganda Country Office. He is a passionate Conservationist and an expert in Communication