Planting on Earth Day. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah

On April 22, the world celebrated Earth Day. We all try to make small differences by trying not to litter or waste less food. But, I decided to do my bit by planting 100 trees around Sharjah.

Since 2012, I have been planting trees for my birthday as I believe that trees are the lifelines and lungs of Earth. Planting trees is the most efficient way to combat climate change and help protect the environment, as stated by the UK-based Forestry Commission. More trees will be able to take more carbon out of the atmosphere and give us fresher air to breathe.

I started with a plantation with young children at two Sharjah-based nurseries, followed by another one at Sharjah Industrial area, then with workers at Sharjah Airport International Free Zone and the last 10 saplings with my friends in a villa.

It was such a great feeling to see the children at the nurseries, digging, sowing and watering the plants. They observed me with curiousity and then imitated my actions. I also spoke to them about the environment and made them understand what Earth Day means and that they should not throw litter around, should not waste food and should plant more trees.

These children have fresh minds without any preconceived notions. They experienced the plantation and would hopefully never forget it in their lives.

My idea behind this activity was to generate interest amongst children for the environment and create a sense of responsibility. I feel that planting trees should be part of every school curriculum. Students become aware that they can play a role in protecting the environment through personal involvement.

I did research and carefully selected ghaf, aloe vera and neem plants for my series of plantations. These species grow best in hot climates, thus are suitable for the dry and hot climate of the UAE. Also, while ghaf is UAE’s national tree and drought resistant, aloe vera is a powerful medicinal plant. Likewise, neem is also used in herbal healing treatments.

Venkatesan Sundar, a pupil based in Sharjah, participated in the plantations with me and said: “I was filled with joy to be able to participate in this planting of trees.”

Neola Castelino, another pupil based in Sharjah, was equally pleased by the activities and thought it brought her closer to Nature. “This was the best way to celebrate Earth Day,” she said.

Going green doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Before taking any action just ask yourself three questions: Is it necessary? What will its impact be on the environment? Is there an eco-friendlier alternative?

Remember, the “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed”. So be wise, don’t waste water or energy and most importantly, don’t waste food. Eat what you take and take what you eat. Let’s leave our mark, not our footprints.

— The reader is a student based in Sharjah.

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