I grew up in Canada, so when I think about forests, I picture majestic, sky scraping old-growth trees in the Rocky Mountains and journeys along the Trans-Canada Highway passing logging trucks stacked with the biggest toothpicks in the world. As World Environment Day approaches (June 5), the United Nations General Assembly wants everyone to think of forests and how they play a key role in the battle against climate change.
To raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, the UN has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests, and World Environment Day (which started in 1972) is one of the main vehicles through which the UN stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and encourages political attention and action.
On a more local level, I have decided to mark the day this year by getting involved in a community tree-planting initiative with Greenfleet and Parks Victoria. Next Sunday, they are hosting a free, family friendly event in Berwick, Victoria, with tree planting, nature walks and children’s activities. Itty Bitty Greenie has donated 100% recycled paper colouring pages and 100% recycled eco-star crayons for the kids, as a fun way to educate about the importance of conserving and recycling paper in order to save trees.
And for those who don’t know about Greenfleet, they are an Australian not-for-profit environmental organization that encourages businesses and individuals to avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then offset any remaining emissions by planting native forests.
Unfortunately global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – every year, 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed – but it is by raising awareness, educating and getting involved in some way that we can all make a difference. As one of my Canadian heroes, environmentalist David Suzuki says: “Environmentalism starts at home.”
For more interesting facts about forests and the United Nations Environment Program, visit their website:
For more information and to register for the free Greenfleet / Parks Victoria Community Planting day, visit: http://plantwithgreenfleet.eventbrite.com/