Pet a tree;New tree growing drive launched
Mr Amumpaire Bismac Moses is a journalist and travel enthusiast who is leading a team of young people pushing a new tree growing campaign dubbed Pet a tree. We caught up with him for more insights on this.
Briefly tell us what pet a tree is.
Pet a Tree is an environment conservation sensitization that intends to create a culture of love for trees by every citizen of the world.
It has been born under a Non-Government Organization called Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives (ATEI ) which nourishes the relationship between tourism and the environment as being interdependent.
The ultimate goal of the Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives (ATEI ) is to promote sustainable and eco-tourism , conserve the environment, mitigate climate change and preserve wildlife for future generations.
The Pet a Tree initiative is our latest and most unique innovation that is tipped to boost and mitigate the climate change threat with the much needed trees in our planet.
How did you conceive the idea?
The Pet a Tree idea was born in my mind 3 Years ago. In 2017, as I travelled to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to film, my producer called me last minute as I was 15 minutes on the road back to Kampala. He said that I should go film something about the extent of deforestation in Nakasongola district, being a hub for charcoal business.
Disappointment, I went back, connected with the community when I arrived there and met an old man, Musoke Sulaiman 61, who narrated his pain on how the landscape has changed for the worst because of the massive charcoal business.
At his age, he mentioned how weather had changed from how it was when he was 20. What hurt him most is the guilt that poverty had put him in a situation where he had to work with charcoal business moguls. He knew what he was doing was wrong but he had to choose that or starve. As he narrated that, a tear dropped from his eyes. I was shocked and surprised because it didn’t make sense at that time.
According to him, nature was being hurt and existing trees were crying seeing their relatives get cut, knowing they will be the next in line to lose a life.
After filming, as I travelled back, I kept thinking and slowly it made sense. That was the game changer. I started putting myself in the solution equation by researching what the problem is amidst all the tree planting campaigns.
I asked my friends, one being my wife, and one thing stood out, tree planting is easy and campaigns to plant trees are numerous. What is hard and challenging is how to have these trees grow. That is when the idea of Plant and Name came up. But this name changed four months later. One day while at home in Bushenyi, relishing my childhood memories, I climbed a mango tree and picked up some raw mangoes which I then ate with salt. Our dog Kyankwisi, came by and started at me as if he wanted a piece. Of course I knew it would not eat mangoes. Suddenly, a small piece of mango I had slipped and fell down. To my surprise, Kyankwisi the dog pet at it. From up the tree, I starred at Kyankwisi the dog Pet. The idea of Pet a Tree was born then. Thanks to Kyankwisi the dog, may its soul Rest in Peace.
What is the main goal of the pet a tree project?
Pet a Tree aims to instil a culture of planting trees as a prestigious noble cause alongside raising awareness of the importance of planting and saving already existing trees to the society.
An act of expressing concern about the dangers of the environment, and diminish the unfavourable effects of climate change.
- Increasing Property value and adding variety to our beautiful landscapes.
- Increasing forest cover.
- Helping to reduce greenhouse gasses and fight climate change;
- Improving the quality of the natural environment.
- Attracting more wildlife and increasing wildlife habitat.
- Improving water quality in your streams and ponds.
How do you want the public to get involved into this campaign?
Media Approach. Using Journalists as ambassadors and then the pet a tree mobile app.
The app will easily record planted or adopted trees and planters information.
The Pet a Tree app will enable tree-planters to take photos and videos of the tree(s) they plant. The app will automatically capture the GPS coordinates where the tree is planted, register the date of planting, and assign a unique number to the tree and owner. The app will be enabled to work in an offline mode and upload data to the cloud when back online. It will give monthly and annual reminders to tree owners so they can celebrate tree birthdays.
We shall also engage the community and opinion leaders like religious leaders, traditional leaders, traditional healers and school to form Pet a tree clubs.
We have seen several tree planting campaigns start and they failed to meet their targets or even end prematurely, how different is this one?
This campaign began with an idea and has now launched massively. Importantly those campaigns aimed at planting, this campaign aims at growing trees. And consequently we shall inspire the other campaigns to do the same.
At what point of the campaign in future would you say you are satisfied it was successful?
We have annual targets, we wish to have 500,000 trees planted before the year ends. After that we shall strategically give targets accordingly. Our success will be achieved when climate change is mitigated and no longer a threat to humanity.
How do you and your team intend to reach that success with the project?
We are working with different partners, experts in the same field like WWF Uganda, National Forestry Authority, Uganda Wildlife Education centre, Uganda Wildlife Authority and others that will come on board. The climate crisis affects everybody. That’s why we need society on board to face it. As ATEI, we pledge to move with urgency to push a mind-set transition in Uganda and Africa working with likeminded partners and the communities.
Anything else in addition
Climate change is the defining challenge of our time and we are already feeling its impact around the globe. Our resolve is undeterred and courage unshakeable. Let us all Pet a Tree for our own good and the good of generations to come.