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Plant a Tree. Change the World.

27 August 2014
Plant a Tree. Change the World. -  Plant a tree

One small step at a time.

"Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future”

– J Sterling Morton

These days, more and more people are becoming eco-conscious. We see this happening more each day as people around the world make a conscious decision to choose environmentally-friendly goods, factories take on "green” manufacturing and businesses make an effort to take part in charitable events for the environment.

In South Africa, we have a very important week coming up in the beginning of September – Arbor Week. At House of York, we decided to highlight the importance of this week by giving you a background on it, as well as the importance of it and how you can make a difference.

The Birth of Arbor Day

The first ever Arbor Day was on 10 April 1872 and was founded by J Sterling Morton in Nebraska, USA. Morton was a journalist, but it was his love for trees that inspired him to propose the idea of having a day dedicated to planting trees and raising awareness of doing this good deed. The word "arbor” means "tree” in Latin and Morton’s property was aptly named "Arbor Lodge” – inspiring the name of this holiday.

The first Arbor Day saw a total of one million trees being planted in Nebraska. Needless to say, this tree-planting day soon spread throughout USA to become a nationally recognised day. Over the years, other countries all over the world have adopted this day to plant trees and raise awareness of indigenous trees in their geographic area.

Arbor Week in South Africa

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is responsible for Arbor Week in South Africa. Since 1945, South Africa celebrated Arbor Day until the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry decided to extend it to a week in 1996. Today, SA celebrates Arbor Week from 1 to 7 September every year.

South Africa has over 2000 different species of indigenous plants, which is why Arbor Week is used to create awareness and to highlight the importance of planting trees that are indigenous to this part of the world. To encourage South Africans to sustain the country’s natural environment, two trees are highlighted each year – one common and one rare.

In 2013, the common Blossom Tree (Virgilia Oroboides)and the rare Cross-berry Tree (Grewia Occidentalis)were highlighted.

This year, South Africa will be highlighting the common Lavender Tree (Genus Heterophyxis)and the rare White Ironwood Tree (Vepris Lanceolata).

The Importance of SA’s Arbor Week

We all know the importance of trees and the vital role they play in our lives. With deforestation constantly on the rise to make way for new buildings and more human settlements, Arbor Week is an important time to teach people, particularly children, about what a difference can be made if each person plants a tree during this week.

Not only are people of SA made more aware of which trees are indigenous to the country, but they learn that they can be a part of achieving a healthy natural environment in all parts of South Africa. Many citizens use this day to help out disadvantaged areas such as small towns, townships and informal settlements by planting trees there for them – giving them tree parks to play in and shade for the hotter days. A lovely way to make a difference.

How you can make a Difference

Each year, South Africa sees more and more schools, businesses and charities making a concerted effort to promote the importance of Arbor Week by planting a tree. Every single tree that is planted makes a small difference, one step at a time, to help sustain our green planet. Gather your family, a group of your friends or even your colleagues together and plant a tree somewhere in your community.

As mentioned before, you can also make a decision to choose eco-friendly products for your home. We have a wide selection of bamboo products for your kitchen, ranging from bowls and rolling pins to spatulas and cutting boards. Why choose bamboo? There are many eco-friendly benefits of bamboo, but a very important factor is that it’s a viable replacement for wood, saving on unnecessary cutting down of trees.

No matter how small, any gesture towards our environment makes a big difference in the long run.

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